Oliver Twist: Chapter 38 - Summary & Analysis

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Containing an Account of what passed between Mr. and Mrs. Bumble and Mr. Monks at their Nocturnal Interview.


A Colony of Thieves and Robbers

      It was an unpleasant summer evening and the sky was overcast when Mr. and Mrs. Bumble were passing through the main streets of town. They were going towards an old and decayed colony situated on a low swamp bordering upon the river. This colony had long been known as the house of low notorious elements who lived by the income which they got through thefts and robberies. The colony was full of huts and in the center of this clustering hovels there was a huge building which was once a kind of workshop. In this building Mrs. & Mr. Bumble had to meet Monks. This was the address given by Monks to Mr. Bumble in order to meet again.

Mrs. Bumble was Offered Twenty-five Pounds

      Monks received Mr. & Mrs. Bumble but suddenly he began to feel some distress as if caught by some disease. However soon he recovered himself and said to Mr. and Mrs. Bumble that he was subjected to some fainting fits which sometimes overpowered him. He then asked about the secret which old Sally had confided in Mrs. Bumble. He wanted to know what the mother of Oliver Twist had told before death to her nurse. Mrs. Bumble then asked what he would give her in exchange. Monks offered twenty pounds. And the bargain was fixed on twenty five pounds which Monks gave to Mrs. Bumble.

Mrs. Bumble gave an Gold Locket to Monks

      Mrs. Bumble informed Monks that a nurse Old Sally had been attending upon the woman who was suffering with labor pain and had died after giving birth to Oliver Twist. The nurse Sally had told her when she herself was dying that she had stolen a gold ornament from the neck of Oliver's mother. After the death of Oliver's mother Sally had kept the ornament to herself. When Sally was once in need of money she pawned it and obtained a receipt from the shop where she had powered. After her death Mrs. Bumble had recovered that receipt from the hands of Sally. Mrs. Bumble then had approached that pawnshop and got the gold ornament after paying the required money. Mrs. Bumble now, took out a small pocket which she had with her and gave that ornament to Monks. This ornament was a small locket with two locks of hair and a gold wedding-ring. Inside the ring, the name "Agnes" was engraved and also there was mention of a particular date.

Monks had Destroyed the Gold Locket

      Monks opened a trap door that was very close to the very spot where Mr. Bumble stood. Mr. Bumble stepped back in order to save himself from falling down into the hollow, Mr. Bumble saw a swift current of water flowing. Monks said that if he were to dispose off the body of someone, this current of water carried him twelve miles away only in single night. He further said that this time he was not intended to kill anybody. He sheer wanted to destroy the evidence which was the locket and a gold wedding ring given by Mrs. Bumble to him. Subsequently he threw those articles into the water and told Mr. and Mrs. Bumble to go. Accordingly, Mr. and Mrs. Bumble got out of the building and walked back to their residence.

Critical Analysis

      The passages of Mr. and Mrs. Bumble are full of humor.

      The atmosphere and time where meeting of Monks and Mrs. and Mr. Bumble is held, is full of darkness, decay, rain, thunder and lightning. Thus nature shows its darkest face to the forces of darkness.

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