Oliver Twist: Chapter 13 - Summary & Analysis

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Reverts to the Merry Old Gentleman and his Youthful Friends, through whom a new Acquaintance is introduced to the intelligent Reader, and connected with whom various pleasant Matters are related appertaining to this History.

Summary

William Sikes Threatened Fagin for Bullying Boys

      Mr. Fagin asked about the boy Oliver. Dodger and Bates looked at each other questioning what they should say. The old Jew seized the collar of Dodger tightly and threatened him to be ready for severe consequences. He asked them again to open their mouth about what happened to Oliver. At this moment the door was opened and there appeared a strongly built man about thirty-five years old. His name was William Sikes. He asked Fagin why was he bullying the boys. He said that Fagin had been ill-treating those boys who took risks for him and served him. It was amazing that boy had not killed him even after such ill-treatment. He continued to say that if he had been there to serve him, he would have certainly killed him long before. Fagin got terrified and requested him to speak in low voice. Sikes then demanded a glass of liquor and Fagin provided him that.

Fagin and Sikes, Scared of being Traced by Police

      The Dodger and Bates then explained the whole incident how Oliver was seized by the crowd and was taken to the police station. Their narration alarmed both Fagin and Sikes. They felt afraid to think that Oliver might have informed police about them. Sikes was the collaborator of Fagin in his criminal activities. Police had been tracking them for very long. Some of his associates were already captured by police and now it was their member to be arrested. After consulting to each other they decided to send somebody to the police station and find out what had happened to Oliver. Nobody was prepared to undertake this job neither Fagin nor Sikes, neither Dodger nor Bates.

Nancy's Consent to Undertake the Job

      Then after came two girls whom Oliver had seen—Nancy and Betsy. Fagin told Betsy to go to the police station and collect the news of Oliver but she also refused to go. Fagin now turned to Nancy and made earnest requests to do the job. Nancy also first refused to obey but ultimately agreed.

Nancy's Success in Collecting News

      Nancy went to police station and very tactfully succeeded in getting the information about Oliver that he was brought into the police station in a very miserable condition but discharged by the magistrate because of an eye-witness who made it clear that pocket was picked by two other boys not by Oliver. She also came to know that Oliver had been taken by the old gentleman, whose pocket was picked, to his residence in his severe illness.

Fagin and Sikes Left their Place

      She returned to Fagin's lodging with all these informations. On hearing Nancy's report Sikes immediately left the place. Fagin said they should trace the whereabouts of Oliver before he could reveal their criminal activities to police or that old gentleman. It was essential for them to search out Oliver and brought him back to them in order to ensure their safety. Fagin directed Bates, Dodger and Nancy to make their most possible efforts to find out Oliver. Then after he said to meet at another place which was known to everybody. It was no more safe for them to stay on the same place because there was possibility of police's arrival (because Oliver had already informed them about their place).

Critical Analysis

      The most important achievement of Dickens in this chapter is his dialogue which brings life to Fagin, Sikes and Dodger. They would be only names if we overlook these dialogues.

      The relationships between various members of the group gain in clarity.

      Sikes overestimates Nancy and this makes clear that he possesses a considerable authority over her.

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