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Free Study Guide-Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens-Online Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 9

Summary

After a good sleep, Oliver opens his eyes to catch sight of Fagin busy in his activities. Fagin prepares coffee and then stealthily opens a hidden treasure-chest to reveal gold watches and sparkling jewels. He admires them and puts them back. As he resumes his seat, he takes note of Oliver watching him. He becomes suspicious and asks the boy whether he had seen his treasure. When Oliver nods his head Fagin tells him that it is all his property and he has kept it as security for his old age.

Oliver washes himself and tidies up the place. Soon Dodger arrives with a sprightly young man named Charley Bates. All of them sit down to have their breakfast. Fagin questions the two young men about their work. In reply they produce pocket books and handkerchiefs from their pocket. Fagin tells Oliver that he would teach him the method to pick marks from the handkerchiefs. The boy is at a loss to understand the nature of their work. He hears their conversation and observes with amusement the curious games they play.

Visitors arrive at the house of Fagin. Nancy and Betsy make their appearance. They look healthy and cheerful. Oliver likes them. After they have their drinks and collect money from Fagin, they leave the place along with Dodger and Charley.


Oliver is puzzled at their way of life. He asks Fagin whether they had finished their work. Fagin answers in the affirmative and asks the boy to keep them as his role-models.

As the chapter closes, we see Oliver playing the game of pick- pocket with Fagin and Fagin commending him for his skills.

Notes

Oliver takes leave of the men of religion to encounter men of the underworld. Ironically, the criminals are more considerate and humane towards Oliver than the men of the parish. Fagin and his companions treat Oliver as a friend and a fellow human being, while the members of the parish consider Oliver as a pest and are happy to get rid of him.

Oliver, with all his innocence, fails to understand the world of the criminals. He is unaware of their evil ways and is grateful for their kindness. Unknowingly he gets introduced to Fagin's business by playing the game of pickpocket with him.

CHAPTER 10

Summary

Oliver gets bored sitting within the four walls of the house doing nothing but picking the marks out of the handkerchiefs. He longs to go out and requests Fagin to allow him to accompany Dodger and Bates. Whenever the young men come back empty handed, Fagin admonishes them to avoid laziness and become active. Oliver feels the need to be employed and soon gets an opportunity.

One day he accompanies Bates and Dodger to work. He follows them as they walk stealthily down the road. As they go, Dodger casually picks up caps from the heads of children while Bates pilfers apples and onions from the carts. Oliver feels repulsed at their casual and callous attitude.

Suddenly Dodger becomes cautious. He points towards an old gentleman across the road and starts following, then halts at a book stall and starts reading a book. Oliver observes with horror his two companions picking the pocket of the old man. Dodger removes the purse with his handkerchief and handing it over to Bates runs away from the place. Oliver watches the whole scene aghast as realization slowly dawns upon him about the kind of work Fagin and his associates are involved in. Frightened out of his wits, he too starts running from the scene. At this juncture, the old man missing his purse, turns to look at Oliver rushing off from the scene. Hearing his call for help, Bates and Dodger too join him in shouting for the thief to divert his attention from them. Soon enough, others join them in chasing Oliver. Poor boy, he is caught red handed. As the old man identifies him, the police officer drags him to the metropolitan office.

Notes

Oliver, trusting Fagin and his companions, accompanies them to be usefully employed. He goes out into the world with a good intention but gets punished in the process. He believes in his friends but they let him down. He is totally confused about the behavior of people. Thus unaware of the world around him and incapable of defending himself, he falls into a trap laid by others. The chapter emphasizes the innocence of Oliver and exposes his helplessness in the midst of evil.

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