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Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist


by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist Chapter 21 Summary

READ THE BOOK: Chapter 21

"The Expedition"

  • It’s rainy at 5 a.m. when Sikes and Oliver set out, and the "kennels" are overflowing (21.1). (FYI, kennels were open gutters/sewers that ran through the streets. So it was pretty gross when they overflowed.)
  • London is just starting to wake up now. Farmers are coming in with their vegetables and things, and laborers are going to work.
  • As they approach the main part of the city, everything is bustling.
  • They cut across Smithfield (which, if you’ll recall from Chapter Sixteen, is the livestock market and slaughterhouse), and it’s market day, so Smithfield is particularly gross—it’s full of farm animals, blood, filth, and general nastiness. And it’s really, really noisy, as you can imagine.
  • They pass west across the city towards Hyde Park (it’s really far, even if you don’t have legs as short as Oliver’s) and finally hitch a ride on the back of somebody’s cart. They continue west-southwest through London and pass outside of the city on the cart, and then hop off at a pub near a crossroads.
  • They keep on walking, with only the occasional break for beer.
  • Finally they take a dinner break, and stay long enough that Oliver falls asleep at the table.
  • He’s woken up by a shove from Sikes, because they’re going to catch a ride for the next leg of their trip from a guy with a horse and cart who’s going their direction.
  • It’s seven o’clock, and already cold and dark when they’re in the cart.
  • They finally arrive at a dilapidated old house outside the small town of Shepperton, and they go in.
READ THE BOOK: Chapter 21

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