Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
The scene has shifted to a parlor in a public house. Bill Sikes is enjoying a drink and cursing his dog alternately. He shows his ill-temper by swearing and shouting from time to time. When Fagin enters the parlor, he curses him too. A conversation ensures between the two. Fagin hands over to his companion a brown envelop containing sovereigns as part of his share in their business. At that moment, Nancy enters the parlor. Sikes inquires whether she had been successful in locating Oliver. She informs him that Oliver had been taken to Pentonville by a man as the boy had taken ill. Soon Nancy and Sikes leave on their mission.
Meanwhile, Oliver is shown walking down the street on his way to the book stall, immersed in his own thoughts. Suddenly he is accosted by Nancy who catches hold of him by pretending to be his sister. Oliver protests but the she embraces him and chastises him for behaving like a truant. Her loud exclamations and outbursts attracts the attention of the people. Soon a crowd gathers and they sympathize with Nancy and admonish Oliver for his irresponsible behavior. They force him to accompany his sister home. Meanwhile, Sikes appears on the scene and supports Nancy in forcing Oliver to join them. The boy succumbs to their pressure and accompanies them to the house of Fagin.
The chapter ends with a scene in Mr. Brownlow's house. The two old gentlemen are seated in the same place with their eyes glued to their watch. Mrs. Bedwin looks anxious and waits for Oliver at the door.
Oliver's happy life gets interrupted. Dickens depicts the life of an orphan through the story of Oliver, a helpless boy is thrown to mercy of under the world. If he is lucky he is taken into the world of wealth and security and if he is not, he falls into a world of violence and chance.
Oliver is dragged along the streets by Sikes. He threatens him and orders him to hold his hand and Nancy's. Thus the boy is taken forcibly to Fagin. Fagin and his associates are delighted to see the boy. They admire his dress but take away his books. Sikes takes the five pound note found in the boy's pocket. Despite Oliver's protests, they snatch away all his belongings. Unmindful of his sentiments, they mock him and let the dog loose on him. Only Nancy takes pity on the boy. She stops the dog from hurting Oliver and restrains Fagin from hitting the boy. She feels sorry for the boy and apologizes for her action. Oliver is thus spared from brutality because of Nancy's intervention. Later he goes to bed, tired and exhausted.
Once again we are made to notice the contrast in the attitudes of the people. When Oliver enters the house of Mr. Brownlow, both the gentlemen and Mrs. Bedwin show their concern for the boy's health and wish for his speedy recovery. In this chapter, we witness a completely different scene. Instead of inquiring about his health or well being, Fagin and his companions admire his dress, snatch away his books, and pocket his money. Insensitive to his feelings, they mock him and send the dog after him. Instead of sympathizing, they curse him. The world of Fagin is a cunning world crowded with selfish people who only care for their own welfare.