Oliver’s bed is a mattress under a counter among the coffins and reminiscent of a grave itself. On his first morning he meets Noah Claypole, a charity-boy, who takes his share of abuse out on Oliver, and the next day Oliver attends his first funeral with Mr. Sowerberry.
After a month’s time, Oliver is officially apprenticed and becomes a favorite of Mr. Sowerberry, which does not relieve the jealousy of Noah one bit. One day while they are alone, Noah taunts poor Oliver about his mother until Oliver reacts most violently; and Charlotte and Mrs. Sowerberry must help remove Oliver from Noah, in which they throw him in the cellar and send Noah to fetch Mr. Bumble.
Mr. Bumble comes to the house and blames meat as the cause for Oliver’s offense, which by the way is highly embellished as being just a sudden violent outburst and attack on the household without just cause. As soon as Mr. Sowerberry returns home, he is pressed to give the boy a beating for causing Mrs. Sowerberry to cry; but the next morning Oliver gathers his few things and leaves that place to seek his fortune elsewhere.
Resolved to go to London, it takes Oliver a week to reach the outer limits. Exhausted and starving, he meets a boy his own age, John Dawkins, otherwise known as the Artful Dodger, who takes him under his wing and shows him where he resides: a filthy, dilapidated house; and introduces him to his housemates: other boys his own age and a older gentleman named Fargin, who all welcome Oliver and share a meal with him.
The next morning, Oliver barely awake, witnesses Fargin inspecting beautiful articles of jewelry and watches, and when Fargin catches Oliver waking, he tells him that the articles are his property. Soon after, Dawkins arrives and introduces a friend, Charley Bates, and they produce pocketbooks for Fargin; then after breakfast the boys play a special game of pick pocket with the old man, and Oliver meets two new young lady friends, Bet and Nancy.
Oliver was eager to get outdoors and “work” like the other boys, since he observes a connection between Fargin’s approval and the fruits of their labors, that finally he is permitted to go with the Dodger and Charley Bates. Unfortunately, when Dodger takes a handkerchief from a reputable gentleman and runs off with Bates, Oliver understands too late the “work” that the boys are involved in and ends up in the hands of a police officer while Dodger and Bates get away.