The Story of
Oliver Twist is born into a life of poverty and misfortune, raised in a workhouse in the fictional town of Mudfog, located 70 miles (110 km) north of London. He is orphaned by his father's mysterious absence and his mother Agnes' death in childbirth, welcomed only in the workhouse and robbed of her gold name locket. Oliver is meagerly provided for under the terms of the Poor Law and spends the first nine years of his life living at a baby farm in the "care" of a woman named Mrs Mann, who embezzles much of the money entrusted to the baby farm by the parish. Oliver is brought up with little food and few comforts. Around the time of Oliver's ninth birthday, Mr Bumble, the parish beadle, removes Oliver from the baby farm and puts him to work picking and weaving oakum at the main workhouse. Oliver, who toils with very little food, remains in the workhouse for six months. One day, the desperately hungry boys decide to draw lots; the loser must ask for another portion of gruel. This task falls to Oliver, who at the next meal comes forward trembling, bowl in hand, and begs the master for gruel with his famous request: "Please, sir, I want some more".