While the prophecy in Oliver Twist is that Oliver would be hung, what is the final decision?

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When the young Oliver is left to be raised in the workhouse, he shocks his keepers by asking for more food. This is not because of any innate cheekiness but because he drew the short straw among the hungry boys who wanted to find a way to get more to eat. Nevertheless, Mr. Limkins, the gentleman in the white waistcoat, says:

I never was more convinced of anything in my life, than I am that that boy will come to be hung.

This was a likely outcome for a boy stigmatized by poverty and with everything stacked against him, but luck and hereditary are on Oliver's side. When seduced into a criminal ring and forced to become a pickpocket and robber, Oliver, oddly enough, meets with good fortune. He is first helped by Mr. Brownlow, a person he tried to rob and a kind man who can perceive Oliver's good heart. Later, through a remarkable coincidence, he is shot trying to rob his long lost relatives, who take him in. He inherits money and is able to end up leading a respectable life—but this is because of extremely good luck.

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Early in Dickens's novel, a "gentleman in a white waistcoat" makes the judgment that the boy Oliver will undoubtedly "be hung" one day, an opinion which nobody seeks to correct. Dickens suggests that it would be contrary to his own purposes as narrator to reveal so early in the story whether this gentleman was right, and whether or not Oliver Twist's life had "this violent termination." The gentleman in the white waistcoat seems to believe that Oliver is unnaturally and unusually demanding and outspoken, given that he has dared to ask for more food in the workhouse. Ultimately, however, this is not the outcome Dickens has in store for Oliver. At the end of the story, having come through his various trials and tribulations, Oliver is adopted by Mr Brownlow; Dickens makes a reference towards the end of the novel to the "old prophecy concerning Oliver," which obviously has not come true in full. However, in part, there is truth in the fact that he did leave the poorhouse, never to return, albeit he did not find himself at the gallows. Instead, Dickens leaves Oliver in an unexpectedly secure situation, and we can assume that he will grow up well cared for and well educated.

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