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

CHAPTER 51

Summary

Oliver along with Rose, Mrs. Maylie, and Mrs. Bedwin are heading towards his native town in a carriage. Following them in another carriage is Mr. Brownlow along with a gentleman. When they near the town, the boy identifies all the places in which he had spent his early life. As they come to the workhouse, Oliver remembers his childhood experiences and his association with Dick. He shows his desire to meet Dick and also seeks permission from Rose to take him back with them to live and lead a peaceful life. Soon they halt near a hotel in the neighborhood and take one of its rooms. Mr. Grimwog welcomes them. Mr. Brownlow arrives, accompanied by none other than Monks. Once they make themselves comfortable Mr. Brownlow introduces Monks to Oliver as his half-brother, a surprise to the boy. Then he, along with Monks, slowly narrates the history of Oliver.

Monks relates how his father had left behind a letter to be delivered to his beloved Agnes and a will which directed the major share of his wealth to be distributed between Agnes and her child. However, the will also stated that the child, if it be a male, would be denied his share of the property if he took to evil ways. When Monks had recognized Oliver as the son of Agnes, he tried to harm the child.

Monks exposes the contents of the letter which reveal the affection shared between his father and Agnes and also discloses the fact that he had presented her with a locket and a ring to be worn on her person till her death.

Monk's mother defiled the character of Agnes in front of her father which resulted in the Agnes' disappearance from her house a few weeks before the birth of Oliver. When the wicked woman gets the information about Agnes and her baby boy, she persuades Monks to locate Oliver and make his life miserable.


As Monks reveals the secret of the locket and the ring, Mr. Grimwig ushers in Mrs. and Mr. Bumble and the two woman attendants who had looked after old Sally before her death to substantiate the evidence given by Monks.

The next revelation of Monks also concerns Rose. Monks identifies her as the sister of Agnes. She was left abandoned as a child after the death of her father and came into the hands of a poor couple. However, luck turned in her favor when Mrs. Maylie, a rich widow acquiring information about the child, decided to take care of her. When Oliver discovers Rose to be his aunt, he is more than happy as his bonds of friendship with the woman are strengthened.

Soon after the revelation are made, Harry Maylie comes forward to meet Rose and reminds her about her promise to consider his proposal. Rose is hesitant still. However, when Harry tells her that he had decided to settle down in the countryside, far away from the prying eyes of society, Rose consents. It is time for cheer though it is marred by the entry of Oliver who brings the sorrowful news of the death of the innocent Dick.

Notes

The story traces a full circle. Oliver returns to his birthplace. This was the place where he was proclaimed an orphan and spent miserable days. Now he is no more alone. He is surrounded by his family and friends. His life has changed for the better unlike his friends Dick's life. Dickens suggests that for every Oliver there is a Dick. The lives of many unfortunate children are wasted. Only a few are lucky.

The bond between Rose and Oliver gets strengthened. The boy has found his aunt. Harry too finds his bride when Rose decides to marry him. It is a scene of reunion,

Bumble enters to bring comic relief though his plight is tragic. The chapter ends on the note that "All's well that ends well."

CHAPTER 52 - "Fagin's last night alive."

Summary

Just before the curtain raises, we see the end of the antagonist of the novel. Fagin is brought to the court to be charged for his crimes. There is a huge gathering, all looking at him with awe and revulsion. He is disappointed by their lack of sympathy for him.

As the court awaits his judgment, Fagin analyses the people around him. He notices a young man drawing his sketch and wonders how he would portray him. He scrutinizes the dress of the judge and tries to probe its design and cost. While he is busy in such thoughts, the jury arrives to pronounce him guilty and fix a date for his death sentence. There is uproar in the court as Fagin is led away by the officers to his cell.

In the cell he recollects incidents from the past before becoming aware of his dreadful predicament. He shows his frustration by banging against the walls and the door. Soon it is night. He becomes aware of the haunting death. He looks distraught as his mind gets clouded by guilt, fear, and helplessness.

The evening before his sentence, Mr. Brownlow and Oliver come to meet him. At first Fagin fails to notice them as he incoherently mumbles commands to his partners of the past. It becomes difficult to bring him to the present. However, when Mr.Brownlow inquires about the papers given by Monks to him for safe keeping, he calls Oliver to his side and whispers into his ear that they were kept in a canvas bag in the top portion of the chimney of his house.

When Oliver asks him to repeat a prayer after him, he fails to respond. Instead he asks the boy to help him run away from his cell and in a frenzy relates his plans for escape. After giving up all hopes for the criminal, Oliver leaves with Mr. Brownlow haunted by the piercing cry of Fagin. The chapter ends with the death of Fagin.

Notes

The evil antagonist meets his end. Fagin had seen his companions getting caught but now he finds himself trapped inside a cell. He looks like a caged animal trying to escape from its cage.

When Oliver and Mr. Brownlow go over to meet him, his mind is distracted. However, after repeated requests, he tells Oliver the place where he had hidden the papers concerning the boy. His criminal instinct does not allow him to let the boy go free. He asks Oliver to help him escape. The boy feels sorry for him and asks him to recite his prayers instead.

The man who had ruled the criminal world now looks helpless. He is so overpowered by evil that he cannot even think of God.

CHAPTER 53

Summary

This concluding chapter sums up the life of all the major characters in the story.

Three months after the incident last mentioned, Harry Maylie and Rose Fleming become married in the same village where they settle down to lead a peaceful life. Mrs. Maylie decides to live with her son and share her love with him and Rose.

Monks and Oliver sharing their father's property between them and get three thousands pounds each. Monks settles down in a part of the United States where he squanders away all his money and dies in prison.

Oliver is adopted by Mr. Brownlow. They settle down in a cottage in the same village in which Mr. Harry lives since Oliver desires the company of his young friends.

Dr. Losborne feels lonely at Chertsey without the company of the Maylies and Brownlow. So he hands over the responsibility of his business to his assistant and goes to live in a cozy cottage just outside the same village in which the Maylies live. Here, he leads a peaceful life, occupying himself with gardening, fishing, carpentry, and every other thing that interests him. Mr. Grimwog visits him often and helps him with his work.

Noah Claypole, receiving a free pardon from the Crown for testifying against Fagin, becomes an informer to make a living. Mrs. and Mr. Bumble are reduced to a state of misery. Charles Bates reforms after witnessing the plight of Bill Sikes. With patience and handiwork he becomes a wealthy grazier in Northampshire.

Mr. Giles and Brittles remain faithful to the Maylies though they attend to the work of Oliver, Mr. Brownlow, and Dr. Losborne at times.

The chapter ends with the narrator relating in the first person the blissful life of Rose Maylie, Oliver, and Mr. Brownlow. While Rose grows healthier and prettier with age and moves around in the circle of friends and well wishers, Oliver gets enlightened in the company of Mr. Brownlow who showers him with knowledge and affection.

The story ends with the narrator pointing towards the grave of Agnes with the visions of her spirit lingering in the background.

Notes

The novel ends like a fairy tale. All the good characters find happiness and even the bad ones, who repent, find their moorings in life.

All the friends and well-wishers of Oliver come together to settle down in the same place. They all lead a contented life.

Those of his oppressors who are alive, meet a disgraceful end except Bates who reforms.

The closing paragraphs of the novel as its opening lines are narrated in the first person. The author shifts to the familiar form of address to express his involvement in the story. He shares the happiness of his living characters and remembers the dead.

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