Oliver Twist: Chapter 11 - Summary & Analysis

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Treats of Mr. Fang the Police Magistrate; and Furnishes a Slight Specimen of his Mode of Administering Justice.

Summary

Police Magistrate considered Oliver, Criminal

      Oliver was now arrested and put behind the jail. Afterward, he was presented before a police magistrate, Mr. Fang. Meanwhile, the old gentleman whose name was Mr. Brownlow, thought Oliver's face resembled to somebody. He found his face very much familiar and stressed his mind a lot to recall that face. He also thought that the boy was innocent. He begged the magistrate to be lenient towards Oliver. But Mr. Fang was not of the opinion to treat the criminal leniently. Oliver was a criminal for him and he must punish him accordingly.

Imprisonment of Oliver for Three Months

      The magistrate addressed Oliver a vagabond and a scoundrel. Oliver's condition was very terrible and he asked for some water to drink Mr. Fang said that the boy was trying to act and cheat them. Thereupon police officer interrupted and said that Oliver was perhaps ill but Mr. Fang did not care for him and this time Oliver fell down to the floor and got collapsed. Mr. Fang took it as boy was pretending and told the court official to leave the boy as he was. Then he delivered his judgment that the boy was sentenced three month’s imprisonment with hard labor.

Oliver rescued by the Owner of Book-stall

      Soon after that, a man entered the court breathlessly. He seemed to run all the way. He appealed Mr. Fang to stop the boy from being taken to the jail. This man was the owner of the book stall where the incident had taken place. He told the magistrate that the boy was perfectly innocent because the old gentleman's pocket was picked by two boys and he was the eyewitness of the whole incident. Mr. Fang asked the owner of bookstall why had he come so late to explain the situation? Why had he not joined the police officer to the court? The man answered that there was nobody in his bookstall in whose charge he could leave his bookstall. As soon as he got somebody to look after his bookstall, he left his shop and straight came to him. Mr. Fang was left with no other alternative but to withdraw the judgment. He discharged the boy Oliver.

Oliver, taken by Old Gentleman to His Place

      Oliver was still unconscious. His face was white, completely bloodless and his body was shivering with cold. Mr. Brownlow was moved to see the boy’s plight. He at once ordered a coach and took Oliver from the ground and placed him inside the coach. He asked the coachman to drive.

Critical Analysis

      This chapter primarily deals with the insolence of Police Magistrate, Mr. Fang who is modeled upon Mr. Laing of Hatton Garden. Dickens has made the fun of contemporary judicial system when Oliver demands for a little water and police officer says that the boy seems to be ill, Mr. Fang replied, I knew him better.

      Oliver gets collapsed and Mr. Brownlow whose pocket was picked feels sympathy and takes him along in a coach to his house.

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