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

CHAPTER 41

Summary

Rose is haunted by the story related by Nancy. She feels the need to confide in a person who would help to unravel the mystery of Oliver's life. Though she wants to convey the information to her aunt and Dr. Losborne, she is restrained from doing so after considering their impulsive nature. She feels the need to talk to Harry but the recent incident which had caused misery to both of them stops her from communicating to the young man.

As she sits, enmeshed in her dilemma Oliver returns from his walk, panting and excited. He relates how he had seen Mr. Brownlow alighting from a coach and approaching a house. Learning the residential address of the gentleman, Oliver is impatient to visit his first benefactor. Rose agrees to accompany him on the trip as she decides to confide in Mr. Brownlow Nancy's revelations. On reaching the house, she alights first and goes over to meet Mr. Brownlow. Soon after introducing herself, she relates the incidents that occurred after Oliver left their house. When the gentleman becomes aware of the truth and of Oliver's innocence, he goes out to welcome the boy. Oliver feels happy to be reunited with him and Mrs. Bedwin. As the boy exchanges news with the housekeeper, Rose reveals the secret Nancy had confided in her. Mr. Brownlow decides to visit them in the evening to discuss the matter with Dr. Losborne.


That evening they plan their course of action but decide to exercise caution for the sake of Oliver and Nancy. They also decide to meet Nancy the next Sunday to get more information about Monks from her. Mr. Brownlow expresses his desire to seek the advice of Mr. Grimwig while Dr. Losborne reveals his intention to seek the help of Harry. Mrs. Maylie postpones her trip abroad till the time they are able to catch the culprits. Having decided on their course of action, they close the matter for the day and proceed ahead to have their supper.

Notes

In this chapter, Rose plays the same role as Nancy by passing on information about Oliver to a person she trusts.

When Oliver returns from his walk and tells Rose about Brownlow's presence in the town, the girl decides to use the information to her advantage. She passes on the information given to her by Nancy to Mr. Brownlow. This respectable gentleman seeks the help of other well wishers of Oliver to fight against the enemies of the boy and bestow upon him his rightful inheritance. Thus, the benefactors of Oliver group together to protect the boy from his oppressors.

The pace of the story quickens from this chapter. Dickens seems to suggest that when the forces of good join hands it is not long before they conquer evil.

The story moves forward to unravel not only the mystery of Oliver's birth but the identity of Rose.

CHAPTER 42

Summary

An old acquaintance of Oliver's exhibiting decided marks of genius, becomes a public character in the metropolis.

Approximately at the same time, when Nancy is on her way to meet Rose, Noah and Charlotte are on their way to London. Treading along dusty roads and narrow lanes, they walk towards the great city. Charlotte, carrying a heavy bundle on her back, finds it difficult to keep pace with her partner. Noah chides her and asks her to hurry up. While in London, he avoids entering prominent public houses on the main road. Thus, meandering through streets they halt at an Inn called "Three Cripples." They order food and drinks while Barney, the young man at the counter, arranges for their accommodation. As they converse during their meal, Fagin entering the public house soon afterwards, overhears their conversation. Noah tells Charlotte about his plans to team up with pickpockets and burglars in order to make money. When Fagin hears this, he goes over to meet Noah. Striking a note of friendship with them, he invites the youth to join him in his profession. He attracts him to the trade by elucidating its benefits. He also suggests that Noah could try his hand at pinching money and goods from children when they are sent on errands by their parents. The youth accepts the offer. Fagin strikes the deal after fixing an appointment with him to meet his friend the next morning.

Notes

In the previous chapter the benefactors of Oliver came together to help the boy. In this chapter the enemies of Oliver come together to harm his helpers. Such coincidences recur in the story and Dickens introduces these situations to heighten the dramatic interest in the novel.

It is ironic that Noah Claypole chooses to steal from children going on errands. His choice reflects his sadism, to hurt innocent and helpless children. In the past he had hurt Oliver, a mere child, and was responsible for his flight from the house of the undertaker.

With the entry of Noah and Charlotte, one more couple establish their presence in the criminal world of Fagin. However, unlike Bill Sikes and Nancy, Noah and Charlotte think alike. Charlotte's conscience does not haunt her like Nancy's and she is more passive and subservient than her counterpart.

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