Oliver Twist Summary and Analysis
The doctor leads the ladies up to Oliver. They are shocked by how young and gentle-looking he is. Rose cannot believe he was willingly the associate of robbers, regardless of the doctor's assurances that a pleasant outside does not necessarily mean a pleasant inside, and says that even if he was, it must have been because of a rough childhood. She thus begs her aunt not to let them take him to prison, to which her aunt easily agrees. The doctor says that he will help them help the boy, unless they find him to be hardened in vice upon interviewing him.
Oliver finally wakes, and they are able to hear his story. All three of them are deeply moved, and so the doctor decides that they must find a way to help him. He goes down to question Giles and Brittles in front of the constable, and tries to bully them into saying that they can't swear for sure that Oliver is the boy they saw the night before. Before they can answer, however, the officers from Bow Street, who had been called in the morning, arrive.
Mr. Blathers and Mr. Duff, the officers, come in and request an interview with Mrs. Maylie. Mr. Losberne tells them the story of the robbery. The officers believe that the robbery was the work of men from the city. Mr. Blathers and Mr. Duff examine the scene of the crime, then interview the servants. Mr. Losberne and the ladies wait anxiously, hoping that they will not take Oliver away. Rose thinks that they should tell the officers the truth, but Mr. Losberne thinks that is a bad idea. The only provable things in Oliverâs tale, he notes, are those areas in which the boy does not look good. His good intentions and unwillingness to participate in crime are impossible to prove.
When the officers go in to see Oliver, he is very ill, and Mr. Losberne gives a cover story to explain his wound. Giles, under pressure, says that he cannot swear that it is the same boy, and Brittles says that he wouldnât have recognized him anyway, but only took Giles's word for it. Giles, instead of being embarrassed, is relieved to think that he probably didnât hurt a young boy. The officers are convinced, and leave Oliver to Mrs. Maylie, Mr. Losberne and Rose's care, under which he gradually thrives.
Oliver, very ill, takes a few weeks to recover, and as he regains his strength he is desperate to show his gratitude to Mrs. Maylie and Miss Rose for taking him in, but he is still too weak to be able to do anything. Rose tells him that they are planning to take him to their country house soon, where he will be able to spend more time recovering. He expresses interest in being able to see Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. Bedwin again, to be able to express his gratitude for their earlier assistance, and Rose says he shall, as soon as he is well.
When this day comes, Oliver sets out with Mr. Losberne, but on the way he passes and recognizes the house by Chertsey Bridge. Mr. Losberne runs in, but finds only an angry and crazy hunchback, who insists that he has lived there for twenty-five years. Mr. Losberne assumes Oliver has made a mistake. When they finally get to Mr. Brownlowâs house, they find it empty with a 'To Let' sign, and hear from the neighboring servants that Mr. Brownlow left for the West Indies six weeks earlier.
Oliver is gravely disappointed at not being able to express his gratitude or clear his name to Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. Bedwin. Mrs. Maylie and Rose leave shortly thereafter with Oliver to go to their cottage in the country. Oliver enjoys the time in the country greatly, walking with Mrs. Maylie and Rose, getting tutored by an old man in the village, gardening, and going to church on Sundays.
By summer, Oliver is finally healthy, but health does not diminish any of his gratitude or gentleness. One day, while Rose is playing the piano, she starts weeping. She cannot stop, and it comes out that she is very ill, but has kept her illness a secret so as not to alarm anyone. Mrs. Maylie sends her to bed and tries to comfort her, but she makes it clear to Oliver that she is very worried about her. The next morning, Rose is quite unwell. Mrs. Maylie sends Oliver off with a letter to summon Mr. Losberne.
Oliver goes as quickly as he can, and, after having sent it, as he is leaving, he runs into a tall man who he supposes to be mad and who has a fit. Oliver gets help, and then runs back to Mrs. Maylieâs. While Oliver has been gone, Rose's condition has grown significantly worse. Mr. Losberne comes, and thinks there is very little hope. Rose falls into a coma, but, to everyone's surprise, awakens, and Mr. Losberne is convinced that she will make a full recovery. Upon hearing this, Mrs. Maylie faints with joy and exhaustion.
Oliver goes out to get flowers to bring Rose. On his way home, he sees a post-chaise drive by very quickly, with a man inside who seems familiar to Oliver. It is Mr. Giles, who sees Oliver and asks him for news of Rose. Mr. Giles weeps with joy upon hearing the good news. Another man, Mr. Harry Maylie, Mrs. Maylieâs son, is in the carriage too. When they reach the house, Harry is angry that Mrs. Maylie did not notify him sooner of Roseâs illness, as he is deeply in love with her.
Mrs. Maylie does not fully approve, because she fears that over time, Roseâs doubtful birth and the rumors about it will cause Harry to resent her, but she says that she will not stand in Harryâs way. Mrs. Maylie goes in to see Rose, who is too weak to see anyone else, and Mr. Losberne, Harry, and Oliver spend the evening together. Harry begins to go with Oliver on his morning flower-gathering expeditions.
One evening, Oliver falls into a kind of half-sleep while studying. In this state, Oliver thinks he hears Fagin and another man, and is woken by their voices. He is troubled to see them standing right on the other side of the window, and when he raises his head, they make eye contact. It is clear that they recognize him. Oliver too recognizes them: Fagin and the crazy man from outside the post office. He jumps into the garden, and calls for help.
This section of the novel represents the first prolonged period of real happiness that Oliver ever enjoys. The reader is not at all surprised to see that Oliver flourishes in this setting, finally gaining his health and happiness and losing none of his virtues. In Rose, we see one of the few adults who truly is willing to listen to Oliver, and judge him by his whole life and self, not just by his actions. Even if he has fallen into a life of crime, she believes, it must only be because of the hard upbringing he has hadâan idea ignored by almost every other adult character in the novel.
Roseâs complete trust of Oliver reflects two other themes introduced earlier in the novel. It is based almost solely on his face, his size, and something indescribable about him. Thus, again, a personâs physical countenance is shown to reflect his/her character, and while Mr. Losberne warns against such assumptions, it is Rose who is correct in this case. Similarly, although the characters and the reader are unaware of it at this point, Rose and Oliver are related, and thus their immediate taking to each other reflects the underlying importance of familial relationships.
Oliver's happiness in this section coincides with his first visit to the countryside. Although he was temporarily happy with Mr. Brownlow in London, the scenes there were not painted with the same idealism as the country scenes in this section. Here Oliver picks flowers every day, goes to a rustic but honest church every Sunday, gets tutored, and goes on long, pleasurable and educational walks with Rose and Mrs. Maylie. The descriptions of the setting are always positive, and present an idealized version of the country, far from the squalor and corruption of London.
The happiness in the country is not totally complete, however. Oliver regrets not being able to show Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. Bedwin his gratitude, and Rose falls gravely ill. Both of these dilemmas will be solved later in the novel, but their existence here serves to remind the reader that bad things can and do happen to good people, and everything does not always get wrapped up perfectly (although, in this novel, it will up coming pretty close).
Also in this section, Dickens' tendency to withhold information from the reader is emphasized via the figure of Monks. Monks has appeared in moments throughout the novel so far, but often unnamed or by alias. In the country, we see him run into Oliver for the first time, and while the reader is aware of this being significant, and thus is more informed than Oliver, the reader still does not understand the root of the significance. The readerâs and Oliverâs ignorance, represented in the figure of Monks, will continue almost until the end of the novel and the final reveal.
Oliver Twist Essays and Related Content
- Oliver Twist: Major Themes
- Oliver Twist: Essays
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- Oliver Twist: Questions
- Oliver Twist: Purchase the Novel and Related Material
- Charles Dickens: Biography
- Oliver Twist Summary
- About Oliver Twist
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Quotes and Analysis
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 1-7
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 8-14
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 15-22
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 23-29
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 30-34
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 35-40
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 41-45
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 46-50
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 51-53
- The Real Workhouse
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