Oliver Twist: Chapter 37 - Summary & Analysis

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In which the Reader May Perceive a Contrast, not Uncommon in Matrimonial Cases.


Mr. Bumble Talking Loudly to Himself

      Mr. Bumble was sitting in the parlor of his workhouse. He was wrapt in his meditations. He had got a promotion and now was raised to a higher rank in the workhouse because Mr. Slout had already died. He had also married Mrs. Corney and now she had become Mrs. Bumble. This time Mr. Bumble was talking to himself loudly that though only two months has passed since his marriage yet it seemed a long time. He further said that at a very low price he had sold himself to Mrs. Corney.

Mrs. Bumble Rebuked her Husband and told Him to Get Out of the House

      Now Mrs. Bumble who was coming from behind overheard what Mr. Bumble had said to himself in a very loud voice. Mr. Bumble had not even thought in the wildest dreams that his soliloquies would be overheard by his wife. Mrs. Bumble very indignantly took the response. She said that she had not bought him at a low price but had paid an excessively high price for him. She asked him if he would sit all day without doing anything. Mr. Bumble said he would sit there as long as he wished to. It was his right to do anything according to his own wishes. He continued to say, that he was a husband and he had right and power to command his wife and it was her duty to obey her husband's orders and fulfill his wishes. He then, made a reference to her late husband that he should have taught her to obey him. As Mrs. Bumble heard this, she dropped into a chair with a scream and started weeping bitterly and loudly. When she found her tears ineffective, she decided to make use of her physical strength. She caught hold of Mr. Bumble's neck with one hand and then inflicted a shower of blows upon his head while the other hand. Then she threw Mr. Bumble down to the floor with force. Ultimately she asked him to get out of the house if he wanted to escape from her punishment. Mr. Bumble realized that any resistance would prove futile, he went out of the house but before that, he was again reprimanded by his wife.

      Mr. Bumble was walking in the streets sometimes up sometimes down and it was raining heavily. Then, he entered a nearby public house. There he happened to meet an alien who told that he wanted some informations from Mr. Bumble. The name of the stranger was Monks. He said that he wanted to know certain information about Oliver Twist and his mother who had given him birth. Monks offered a drink in order to tempt Mr. Bumble to reveal informations. Mr. Bumble made him to learn that Oliver Twist's mother had died soon after giving birth to the boy, but before that, she had something given very important to the nurse who was attending upon her. Monks were keen to know what the woman had said to her nurse. But Mr. Bumble was himself innocent and did not know the fact. He recalled inwardly that his wife had a talk with a dying nurse old Sally and so she would be able to tell Monks about the fact. Mr. Bumble told Monks that he would bring the lady concerned to meet Monks and inform him whatever she knew regarding his question. Monks gave his address to Mr. Bumble and decided to meet the lady and Mr. Bumble in the following evening.

Critical Analysis

      Mr. Bumble is not happy to marry Mrs. Corney because he is of the view that he has sold himself at a very low price to Mrs. Corney.

      Mrs. Corney's aggressive response after hearing the loud soliloquies of Bumble is full of humor. The whole scene gives a long smile on the face of the readers.

      Mr. Bumble's meeting with Monks and his decision to make Monk's meet Mrs. Bumble in order to give him some informations about Oliver's birth contribute to the development of the plot.

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