Oliver Twist: Chapter 40 - Summary & Analysis

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A Strange Interview, which is a Sequel to the Last chapter.


Nancy disclosed Important Secret to Rose

      Nancy said Miss Rose Maylie that she was responsible to drag the boy back to the Fagin when Oliver was going to a book-stall in order to return few books given by Mr. Brownlow. Rose felt amazed to listen that Nancy had been responsible to take Oliver back to Fagin who was originally responsible for exposing Oliver to a life of crime. Nancy also said that she had been leading a life of crime from her very childhood. She has also fallen into the hands of criminals. Rose said that she was sad to hear that Nancy had to lead a life of vice against her own wishes. Nancy told that if Fagin or Sikes would come to know that Nancy had visited Miss Maylie in order to save Oliver, they would kill her. Then she revealed what she came to know through the conversation between Fagin and Monks. She said that Oliver was Monk's half-brother. And Monks wanted to kill Oliver in order to own Oliver's share also in the property. Oliver himself was unaware of his property. Monks had told Fagin that he would use all kinds of schemes in order to destroy Oliver so that he could possess all his property. It was great misfortune for them that Oliver was under the protection of a rich lady Mrs. Maylie. Nancy also said that Monks had thrown into a current of water some evidence which could have revealed Oliver's parentage. Thus Monks was hostile towards Oliver. Now Nancy got up to get back to Sikes, house.

Rose's Offer to Help Nancy

      Rose said Nancy that she was ready to help her if she wished to. She was prepared to save Nancy from the hands of the criminals with whom she was leading her against her wishes. But Nancy replied it was not possible for her to quit that life which she was leading. Moreover, she could not forsake a particular man. She could not betray him though she did not want to continue this life of a criminal. (The man whom Nancy was mentioning was indeed Sikes who had been misbehaving with her but for some unknown reason Nancy did not want him to be fallen into any difficulty). Rose, when found Nancy determined to leave and stay with her criminal friends she asked her if she required money; but Nancy denied that offer. Then after Nancy had left but she had shed lots of tears in the course of her talk with Rose. Before leaving Nancy told to Rose if she ever wanted to meet her, she (Nancy) would be available on any of the following Sundays on London Bridge between the time eleven or twelve at night.

Critical Analysis

      This chapter presents Nancy as a heroine of the novel. It is a very brave step to mix opium in the drink of Sikes in order to make him sleep quickly. Further, she denies accepting the financial help and security offered by Rose. She is steadfast in her love with Sikes though she is badly beaten by him. She is ready to be killed by him but not to betray Sikes.

      It is again merciful fortune that gives Nancy an opportunity to hear the conversation between Monks and Fagin because she has sympathies for him. The shadow that Monks see during his talk with Fagin, is obviously the shadow of Nancy.

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