Oliver Twist: Chapter 43 - Summary & Analysis

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Wherein is shown how the Artful Dodger Got into Trouble.


Bates came to Inform about Dodger

      Next day Mr. and Mrs. Bolter were transferred from the public house to the den of Fagin. Fagin talked to Mr. Bolter partly in a threatening manner and partly in an encouraging tone in order to have command over him. When Fagin was busy in talking to the freshers Bates arrived and informed Fagin that there was no chance for Dodger to come out from police's grip.

Noah's First Assignment to Perform

      Dodger had been taken to the police custody because he had tried to Steal a snuff box from the pocket of a gentleman. The Dodger had to attend a trial in the court and the gentleman whose snuff box had been stolen would himself be the witness. Thus there was no way for Dodger to escape. Now Fagin was curious to know what would happen in the court. He directed Mr. Bolter to go to the court and see the proceedings. Then after he would Come to him to report everything happened there. This was the first work given to Mr. Bolter. He was fresh for London, thus nobody would recognize him. Bates was told to show the way to reach court.

Dodger, Defiant and Light-hearted

      Accordingly Bates had guided Mr. Bolter who went to attend and see all the trial and judgment in order to reproduce to Fagin. Dodger was in a funny mood. Till the time Dodger was arrested he was talking in the police station in a very light manner as if no action would be taken against him.

Court's Punishment to Dodger

      The court decided to imprison Dodger. Mr. Bolter had seen all the court proceedings and now returned to make Fagin acquainted with everything. Charley Bates was waiting for him at a particular place in order to take him back to the Fagin's lodging. Bates had not appeared near the court because there was the risk of being arrested.

Critical Analysis

      The concept of number one as explained by Fagin is very important. He says that the brotherhood of thieves is dependent on their sense of mutual protection. They all have to save their necks from noose. Their own safety means the safety of other members.

      The scene of Dodger's trial is one of the major scenes of the novel. Prof. Arnold Kettle says, "Dodger's trial restates the central theme of the novel; what are the poor to do against the oppressive state? His precocity, labored irony of his conversation, his shrewdness, his grotesque urbanity, his resourcefulness (gloriously at variance with his appearance), his tremendous vitality, all are revealed without false pathos but with an effect of great profundity. For what is so important about the Artful Dodger is not his oddity but his normality; not his inability to cope with the world but his very ability to cope with it on its own terms. Oliver is afraid, the Dodger defies it; it has made him what he is and he will give back as good as he got." The importance of the Artful Dodger in the pattern of the novel is that he is almost alone with the characters of the underworld who does stick up for himself, does continue and develop the conflict that Oliver had begun when he asked for more."

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