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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. 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."

4. 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."

5. 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."

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

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

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