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  • Fagin is a fictional character who appears as an antagonist of the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. In the preface to the novel he is described as a "receiver of stolen goods," but within the actual story he is more frequently referred to as the "merry old gentleman" or simply the "Jew." Born in London, Fagin is described as "grotesque" to look at. He is the leader of a group of children, the Artful Dodger and Charley Bates among them, whom he teaches to make their livings by pickpocketing and other criminal activities, in exchange for a roof over their heads. A distinguishing trait is his constant—and thoroughly insincere—use of the phrase "my dear" when addressing others. At the time of the novel, he is said by another character, Monks, to have already made criminals out of "scores" of children who grow up to live—or die—committing the same crimes as adults. Bill Sikes, one of the novel's major villains, is hinted to be one of Fagin's old pupils, and the prostitute Nancy, Sikes's lover, clearly was.

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