Nicholas Nickleby, the title hero of Charles Dickens' third novel, finds himself responsible for supporting his mother and sister after his father's death. His Uncle Ralph, a cruel and selfish businessman, provides Nicholas with a low-paying job working for the wicked Squeers, a man who, with his wife, runs a brutal boarding school for unwanted children. The Squeers treat the children terribly, and eventually Nicholas is pushed beyond his breaking point. He stands up to Squeers and escapes with one of the children. Their adventures and quest to provide for Nicholas' family pit them against the evil Uncle Ralph and the powers of injustice.