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

CHAPTER 49

Summary

The chapter opens to reveal Monks in a different attitude. He follows Mr. Brownlow into his apartment. When Mr. Brownlow threatens to reveal his ghastly deeds to the police, Monks settles down. Closeted in a room with the culprit, Oliver's benefactor reveals the story of Monks before getting a statement of confession from him. Monks, earlier referred to as Edward Leeford, is the son of Mrs. Brownlow's friends. Having married a woman against his wishes, his father experienced an unhappy wedded life and finally separated from her. Soon he met a naval officer and his family and gets intimate with them especially with their elder daughter. Before he decided to marry her, he was forced to visit Rome to take over the rights of the property settled on him by a rich relative. However, he died soon after reaching the place leaving, his property to his beloved and Monks.

Mr. Brownlow also relates how his friend, before going abroad, had confided in him about settling his property and had left the painting of a woman whom he intended to marry. When Oliver entered his house, Brownlow could spot the resemblance between the woman and the boy. Thus he had discovered the past of Oliver.


When Mr. Brownlow provides complete information about Monks, his evil deeds and his past, the half brother of Oliver feels helpless to defend himself. He agrees to do anything he can to secure a peaceful life for Oliver. Dr. Losborne and Harry bring in the news of the impending arrests of Fagin and Sikes.

Notes

Events occur in rapid succession. Monks has been apprehended and the scene shows the man and Mr. Brownlow deep in conversation. With persuasion and threats, Mr. Brownlow makes Monks reveal the true story of his life and Oliver's heritage. Secrets are thus revealed which help to clear the mystery surrounding Oliver's birth.

Through the story of evil Monks, the goodness of Oliver is established. As the chapter closes there is news of two more evil men awaiting trial. The oppressors of Oliver are in the process of making their exit from the world.

CHAPTER 50 - "The Pursuit and Escape."

Summary

The scene shifts to Jacob's Island. In an upper room of one of these houses in the island are seated three robbers. Toby Crackit, Mr. Chitling and Kags. They are all in hiding. They talk about the arrest of Fagin, Bolte, and Bet. Suddenly, they hear the barking of a dog. The faithful animal of Sikes, covered with mud, makes his appearance and creates confusion in the mind of his hosts. As darkness envelopes the night, Bill Sikes enters the house looking like a ghost. After asking permission from Crackit to sleep in the house, he enquires about Nancy's body. Soon Charley Bates comes in and, looking at Sikes retreats, from the room. He curses Sikes for having committed a heinous crime. The harsh words of the boy provoke the criminal and a scuffle ensues. Outside, a crowd gathers and tries to break down the door. Sikes tries to stay inside the house. However, when he feels threatened he escapes to the top of the house by means of a rope. People gather around the house to view the murderer. In the surrounding confusion, they hear a voice which offers a reward of fifty pounds to any one who would catch the culprit alive. Tempted by the offer and anxious to capture the criminal the crowds break open the door of the house to catch the murderer. Meanwhile, Sikes makes a last bid to escape but, haunted by the ghostly eyes of his beloved, he falls into his own trap. The man who killed his good-hearted beloved mercilessly meets a ghastly death. The loyal pet follows his master by falling down after him.

Notes

Sikes meets a miserable death. When he kills Nancy brutally, he invites his own death. Though he tries to run away from her corpse, her vision chases him till the end.

By killing his own beloved mercilessly, he invokes fear and hatred in his companions. When he knocks at the door in Jacob's Island, Toby Crackit and Chitling fear to open the door to let him in. As soon as Charley Bates casts his eye on him, he feels repulsed. He hates Sikes for his brutality and flights with him.

The closing lines of the passage evoke pity. The harder Sikes tries to escape, the more he gets trapped. Finally, as his body hangs down lifelessly along the wall, his faithful dog tries to reach him and instead drops down dead. Sikes had tried to kill his dog once and now the same dog shows his concern for the man by jumping after his master.

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