Oliver is a poor orphan who is isolated in many ways: he is a child in an adult world, he is poor, he is homeless, and he is friendless. Much of that changes when he meets the Artful Dodger, who becomes his friend and teacher. Although somewhat older, the Artful...
Oliver is a poor orphan who is isolated in many ways: he is a child in an adult world, he is poor, he is homeless, and he is friendless. Much of that changes when he meets the Artful Dodger, who becomes his friend and teacher. Although somewhat older, the Artful Dodger is also a child.
Both Fagin and the Artful Dodger act as friends, protectors and mentors, even though they are unsavory in some respects.
Immediately two of the things that isolated Oliver are taken care of. When Fagin enters the picture, Oliver now has a place to live. As he meets other children, his world becomes less driven by adults (although he did know children in the orphanage, he was isolated from them).
Another character who is a friends to Oliver is Nancy, who was once a pickpocket in her younger years, trained by Fagin. Now a prostitute, Oliver gets along with her and trusts her. She has stayed peripherally connected to the life of the street gang and while other gang members mock her (for her profession), Oliver is loyal to her.
Mr. Brownlow and his housekeeper, Mrs. Bedwin, both help Oliver by rescuing him after he is separated from Fagin, brought to court, and faints. Both these characters show Oliver kindness, although they are not peers. Other members of Fagin's gang, such as Bet and Charley Bates, are not unfriendly to Oliver and could be friends in the loosest sense. Charley, while not especially close to Oliver, is ultimately a good guy who gets out of the life after his disgust at the murder of Sikes.
Fagin, while technically Oliver's boss and an unattractive character, befriends Oliver because he takes care of him and acts as a father figure. He also slowly brings Oliver in the adult world and helps him learn how to negotiate it. This is an important undertaking as Oliver Twist is, in some respects, a coming of age story about growing up in a harsh world.
The Artful Dodger is a mentor to Oliver. He befriends him in the sense that he teaches him, includes him, and never betrays him. He realizes Oliver will never succeed as a criminal and becomes his closest friend. In addition, the Artful Dodger, because he is a child who acts like an adult, is another bridge for Oliver from the world of childhood to the world of adulthood.