Oliver Twist: Chapter 26 - Summary & Analysis

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In which a Mysterious Character Appear upon the Scene; and Many Things, Inseparable from this History, are Done and Performed.

Summary

The Colony for the Purchase and Sale of Stolen Goods

      Fagin was going through the streets with fast speed. He slowed down his speed when reached a narrow and dirty lane leading to Saffron Hill. In this lane there were many filthy shops where big piles of secondhand silk handkerchiefs of various sizes were on display. They were for sale. In this lane there were living many merchants whose business was to purchase stolen silk handkerchiefs. Thus, this lane was a kind of market for the purchase and sale of stolen things. Fagin entered this lane.

Fagin's Inquiry about Sikes, Oliver and Monks was in Vain

      After inquiring something from one or two shopkeepers, Fagin reached a public-house named The Three Cripples. At this place Sikes used to come occasionally and once Fagin had held a discussion with him here. But Fagin did not find Sikes anywhere. He asked about Monks to the landlord of this public house. The landlord said that Monks had not come there. Next, Fagin went to the house of Nancy. He asked Nancy about the Sikes where he could be found. He told her that Sikes and Toby had left the boy into a ditch. Thereupon Nancy said it would be better for Oliver Twist to die in the ditch than being a criminal in Fagin’s company. Fagin asked if she was drunk because for him Oliver was worth more than hundreds of pounds so that he did not want to loose him. He would get lots of money for Fagin in coming days after being trained as a thief and a burglar. Fagin’s worry was related to this fear only that Oliver might have not fallen into the hands of police and pursuers because Oliver would tell them the whereabouts of Fagin and his companies. He came back to his own lodging after getting Nancy not ready to help him.

Monks, Curious to know about Oliver

      Fagin saw a dark figure standing in a shadow when he reached his house. It was Monks about whom Fagin had made inquiry from the landlord of The Three Cripples. Monks said Fagin that he had been waiting for him for last two hours. Fagin took Monks into his lodging because Monks wanted to talk something very urgent. He was interested in knowing about Oliver, what happened to him and where was he. Fagin told him about Oliver's protest against becoming a thief. He also informed Monks about Nancy's soft corner for the boy and her efforts to save him. Right at this moment, Monks noticed a figure of woman in cloak and bonnet, passing through the room at some distance. He asked Fagin about her. But Fagin had seen nobody and said it might be Monk's hallucination. Monks vowed that she was an actual woman but Fagin made it very sure that there was no woman in his house. It was 1 o'clock in the night and Monks did not find it good to carry on his conversation with Fagin; so he departs from there and went away.

Critical Analysis

      The plot becomes more complicated. The conversation between Monks and Fagin is not mentioned in this chapter but it is made clear that their talk was concerned with Oliver.

      In this chapter we see that Monks is highly interested in Oliver and wants him to indulge in any crime, as Fagin himself wished to. Monks' accusation and Fagin's defense suggest that Monks is crazy to enlist Oliver in the rank of thieves.

      Monks had strong command over Fagin and Fagin, though dislikes this man, earnestly pursues his job.

      Monk's personality is not elaborately discussed but readers can easily conclude it that he is a person of jerky nerves, who is a coward and can be easily agitated.

      Only Toby Crackit's version of incident informs the reader that Oliver is left into a ditch in the state of unconsciousness. We feel curiousity to hear Sikes' account of the failure of attempted burglary but Sikes can not turn back to Fagin, thus tension mounts very high in this chapter.

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