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1. Oliver Twist :Son of Edwin Leeford and Agnes Fleming, he is thought to be an orphan. A dear, grateful, gentle child, who "instead of possessing too little feeling, possessed rather too much." He had not learned "that self-preservation is the first law of nature."

2. Fagin: The master criminal; "a very old shriveled Jew, whose villainous-looking and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of matted red hair."

3. Charles Bates: One of Fagin's gang; "a very sprightly" young boy given to uproarious laughter.

4. Nancy: Trusted and resourceful member of Fagin's gang. Untidy and free in manner, but "there was something of the woman's original nature left in her still."

5. Betsy: Member of the Fagin gang. "Not exactly pretty, perhaps; but . . . looked quite stout and hearty."

6. Bill Sikes: A ruthless felon associated with Fagin; he is violent, and abusive, his anger likely to erupt at any moment.

7. Mr. Bumble The parish beadle (a minor church official); "a fat man, and a choleric (cranky show-off) [with] a great idea of his oratorical powers and his importance." "He had a decided propensity for bullying: derived no inconsiderable pleasure from the exercise of petty cruelty; and, consequently, was (it is needless to say) a coward."

8. John (Jack) Dawkins The Artful Dodger; Fagin's most esteemed pupil. A pickpocket and thief, he is a dirty "snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy . . . short of his age; with rather bowlegs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes."