Oliver Twist: Chapter 47 - Summary & Analysis

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Fatal Consequences


Sikes came to Visit Fagin

      One night Fagin was in a grim mood, close to him was lying to Mr. Bolter who was in slumber. In Fagin's mind, several evil thoughts were passing. Suddenly bell rang. Fagin opened the door and found Sikes at the door. Sikes put down a bundle of papers on the table. He said that after facing much trouble he had got this bundle of paper. Sikes got irritated to see Fagin in a strange mood. Sikes asked with anger what was wrong. Fagin said that he had something to inform him. Sikes became furious and with using illicit language said Fagin to speak whatever he wished to.

Sikes, Hearing Mr. Bolter's Account

      Fagin had arisen Mr. Bolter from sleep and told him to narrate everything in front of Sikes that he had told him about Nancy. Thereupon Mr. Bolter told everything about how he had chased Nancy to London Bridge, how she had met a lady and an old gentleman, and what she had informed to these persons about Monks. Mr. Bolter also said that Nancy had told those people that Bill had chained her forcibly in his house. She moved at the order of Bill. Sikes got furious. Mr. Bolter's account of Nancy made Sikes understand that Nancy had betrayed him. Though the fact was she had given the particulars about Monks only and all the time she was conscious of not to mention the name of Sikes or Fagin regarding that matter. She did not want to put them behind the jail. But Mr. Bolter's story of Nancy's meeting made Sikes feel that Nancy had gone against him.

Nancy Killed by Sikes

      Sikes fury was now beyond control. Immediately, he left the den of Fagin. Fagin urged him to treat Nancy leniently not violently. Sikes reached his house in a very dangerous mood. Nancy was enjoying sleep that time. He roused her from sleep and then caught her by the neck. Nancy found it hard to breathe and asked him what had she done that he was giving her such treatment. Sikes said that she was a devil and everything was reported to him regarding her talk on the previous night. Nancy said him first to listen to what she had told to those people. She said that she should not be suspected. She further said that she had rejected all the offers for his sake. But Sikes did not want to listen to her. He hit his pistol against her head and face twice and a gush of blood burst out from her head. She realized that her death was very close, she drew from her bosom the handkerchief of Rose Maylie and holding that up in her hand she prayed to God to be merciful to her. This was a very dreadful scene in the novel.

Critical Analysis

      The Murder of Nancy is among the most remarkable scenes of the novel. During the times of Dickens, he was usually requested to read publically some of the important scenes of his novels. On such occasions usually, the demand was made to read this scene. Audiences especially ladies turned pale and horror-stricken, they shrieked and sometimes even had fainted as he proceeded in the serious murder of Nancy.

      Nancy's attempts to convince Sikes of her faithfulness and her requests that he would repent in coining time are very touching.

      Nancy's taking out Rose's handkerchief and her prayer seem unrealistic. It is too much to digest.

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