Oliver Twist: Chapter 7 - Summary & Analysis

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Oliver Continues Refractory


Noah's Report of Oliver's Ferocity to Mr. Bumble

      Noah was running through the streets at the fastest speed and did not pause even for a breath. He straight reached the workhouse gate and started shouting the name of Mr. Bumble. On hearing his mad shout Mr. Bumble came out without his cocked hat. Noah immediately explained to him that Oliver had turned vicious: "He tried to murder me, sir; and then he tried to murder Charlotte, and then missis. Oh! what dreadful pain it is! Such agony, please, sir!" The gentleman in white waistcoat who was hearing all this told Mr. Bumble to whip Oliver. He then directed Mr. Bumble to go immediately to Mr. Sowerberry's house and gave a severe punishment to Oliver.

Bumble's Interpretation of Oliver's Defiance

      Mr. Bumble and Noah went with their fastest speed to Mr. Sowerberry's house. Mrs. Sowerberry had locked Oliver into a room so that he could not escape. Mr. Bumble was so astonished at the account of Oliver's ferocity that he thought it safe to talk to him through the key-hole. Accordingly, he talked to him through the keyhole and tried to frighten him. But Oliver remained defiant. Mr. Bumble was started at this. Mrs. Sowerberry said that the boy had gone mad. But Mr. Bumble told her it was not madness but meat. When Mrs. Sowerberry could not understand him, he repeated with stress; "Meat, ma'am, meat, You've over-fed him, ma'am. You've raised artificial soul and spirit in him, ma'am unbecoming a person of his condition; as the board, Mrs. Sower berry, who are practical philosophers, will tell you. What have paupers to do with soul or spirit? It's quite enough that we let'em have live bodies. If you had kept the soul on gruel, ma'am, this would never have happened."

      And thus he suggested starvation to keep Oliver under control.

Oliver, badly Beaten by Mr. Sowerberry

      By this time Mr. Sowerberry returned to his house. Charlotte and Mrs. Sowerberry explained the furry of Oliver in hyperbolic manner. After listening to them Mr. Sowerberry immediately unlocked the door and dragged Oliver out. His clothes were already torn and his face bruised and scratched. Mr. Sowerberry gave him a box on-ear. Oliver explained that Noah had abused his mother. Mrs. Sowerberry said that Noah was right in his statements regarding Oliver's mother. Oliver protested loudly that it was not true. This brought tears into the eyes of Mrs. Sowerberry and Mr. Sowerberry started beating him. He thrashed the boy so much that even Mrs. Sowerberry felt satisfied.

Oliver's Emotional Meeting with Dick

      Whole night Oliver kept on weeping. He remained motionless for very long, shedding tears in a kneeling posture. Inwardly, he resolved to slip away from Mr. Sowerberry's place. When the day was about to dawn, he fled away from the house of Mr. Sowerberry. He started walking towards the workhouse of Mrs. Mann where he had spent nine years. On arriving there he saw a boy working in the garden. It was very early in the morning and nobody was woken up. He was Dick and Oliver knew him very well during his stay in this place. Oliver told the boy that he had left Mr. Sowerberry's house because he and others has beaten him severely. Dick said that his death was very close to him because he was suffering from some incurable disease. Then he asked Oliver to kiss him and Oliver did that. Dick said, "Good-bye, dear! God bless you!" "The blessing was from a young child's lips, but it was the first that Oliver had ever heard invoked upon his head; and through the struggles and sufferings and troubles and changes, of his afterlife, he never once forgot it."

Critical Analysis

      Mr. Bumble's discovery of the cause of Oliver's defiance is very amusing as well as makes the reader hate him. He says: "Dear, deal, This comes of being liberal. He says that Oliver is overfed by Mrs. Sowerberry, that is why he has become so adamant and obdurate.

      The scene of Oliver and Dick's meeting is over-sentimental. It seems an imposed sentimentality of Dickens. Too much delicacy of heart has made it less dramatic and inartistic.

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