Oliver Twist

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The village beadle of Oliver's home village, Mr. Bumble is another, more minor antagonist in the novel—he hates Oliver, and eventually marries Mrs. Bumble in order to take over the poorhouse's control, such that he can order paupers around. But Bumble is exposed as being complicit in a part of Monks' plot, and loses his social station—he and his wife later end up paupers in the very same poorhouse that they used to run.

Mr. Bumble Quotes in Oliver Twist

The Oliver Twist quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Bumble or refer to Mr. Bumble. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Thievery and Crime Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of Oliver Twist published in 2002.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!
For more! . . . Compose yourself, Bumble, and answer me distinctly. Do I understand that he asked for more, after he had eaten the supper allotted by the dietary?
- - -
That boy will be hung . . . I know that boy will be hung.

Related Characters: Oliver Twist, Mr. Bumble
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

This is one of the most famous scenes in the book - one that has seeped into the popular culture, even for those who haven't read Oliver Twist. This is Oliver's first act of rebellion. It is also a polite act, one that is designed not just to better his own circumstances but the circumstances of those around him. Oliver believes that because he is hungry, and because he is fed so very little, it would not be unreasonable to ask those in positions of authority for more food. 

But, of course, this is simply not done - not because getting more food would be a bad thing, or a waste of resources, but because those in charge have not thought about the condition of the boys' lives at all. This kind of indifference to the suffering of others is a hallmark of corrupt people in power in Oliver Twist, and indeed throughout Dickens' novels more generally. And it is this indifference that Oliver seeks to push back against. 

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Chapter 27 Quotes

Say it again, you vile, owdacious fellow! . . . How dare you mention such a thing, sir? And how dare you encourage him, you insolent minx! Kiss her! . . . Faugh!

Related Characters: Mr. Bumble (speaker), Noah Claypole, Charlotte
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:

This is an important, and comedic, indication of the profundity of Bumble's hypocrisy. Bumble has just been wooing Mrs. Corney, and wondering what he might do to curry her favor - and also how to make use of her for his own ends, since Mrs. Corney could give him a job as the manager of a poor home for which Corney also works. But Bumble, walking in on two young people carousing without any other motive - simply because they enjoy spending time with one another - finds this completely intolerable. He launches into the tirade here, accusing Charlotte of possessing lax morals, and implying that Noah is a beast for having any romantic interest in anyone.

Hypocrisy in Dickens is often shot through with class distinctions. Bumble pretends that he is not of the "lower" classes, although he is not wealthy - but he makes a living ordering around the poor in workhouses. Bumble therefore considers himself above Noah and Charlotte, and Bumble participates in a common critique of the poor in Dickens' time - the idea that poor people are "naturally" immoral, have no control over their emotions, and tend to engage readily in illicit sexual behavior. 

Chapter 37 Quotes

Are you going to sit there snoring all day?
I am going to sit here, as long as I think proper, ma'am. . . . And although I was not snoring, I shall snore, gape, sneeze, laugh, or cry, as the humor strikes me . . . .

Related Characters: Mr. Bumble (speaker), Mrs. Bumble (Mrs. Corney) (speaker)
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:

Dickens here gives us another domestic scene, and a further contrast to Rose and Harry's relationship on the one hand, and to Nancy's and Sikes' on the other. Bumble believed that marrying Mrs. Corney would make him a rich man without too much work - and if there is anything Bumble does not like to do, it's work hard. Instead, however, he finds that Mrs. Corney is not particularly nice to him - or, from her perspective, she is willing to critique his laziness - something he is more or less comfortable with.

The Bumbles' marriage thus represents a third option in the spectrum of marriages in a Dickens novel. There is thwarted, beautiful love - illicit, dangerous love - and loveless, married life. Dickens implies that Bumble longs for his bachelor days, and that those days are long in the past - that his life now must be made with someone to whom he is not particularly well suited, and who is willing to point out his shortcomings. 

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Mr. Bumble Character Timeline in Oliver Twist

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Bumble appears in Oliver Twist. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Poverty, Institutions, and Class Theme Icon
Individualism and Social Bonds Theme Icon
Social Forces, Fate, and Free Will Theme Icon
It is Oliver's ninth birthday, and Mr. Bumble, the beadle, or church official in charge of administering the Poor Laws in that region,... (full context)
Thievery and Crime Theme Icon
Poverty, Institutions, and Class Theme Icon
Individualism and Social Bonds Theme Icon
...asks if he might have more oatmeal. The master is flabbergasted, and calls for the beadle, who brings Oliver before the board again. (full context)
Thievery and Crime Theme Icon
Poverty, Institutions, and Class Theme Icon
Individualism and Social Bonds Theme Icon
Social Forces, Fate, and Free Will Theme Icon
...aloud, over and over, that he believes Oliver, a troublemaker, will eventually be hung. The beadle and the board decide to post a notice outside the workhouse: five pounds to anyone... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Individualism and Social Bonds Theme Icon
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Bumble takes Oliver before the magistrate, in order to have papers signed granting Oliver to Gamfield... (full context)
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Bumble is immensely angry with Oliver, and he leads him back to the workhouse; Gamfield walks... (full context)
Chapter 4
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The board and the beadle decide that they will try to send Oliver to sea, to apprentice him to a... (full context)
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Bumble asks Sowerberry if the latter knows of anyone needing an apprentice, and Sowerberry responds that... (full context)
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The beadle brushes of Sowerberry's criticism aside and informs Oliver, while Sowerberry is meeting with the board,... (full context)
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...is very small and thin, when he is dropped off at their house by the beadle. She offers Oliver small bits of meat that their dog wouldn't eat, and Oliver eats... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Oliver walks with Sowerberry, the beadle, and four pallbearers the next day, at the woman's funeral; the casket is so light,... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Noah runs all the way to the workhouse, and finds Mr. Bumble. Noah informs Bumble that Oliver has "gone vicious" and attempted to kill him; Noah exaggerates... (full context)
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Bumble heads with Noah back to the Sowerberrys'. He finds Oliver locked in a room, and... (full context)
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City and Country Theme Icon
Sowerberry beats Oliver to Bumble's and Mrs. Sowerberry's satisfaction, then has him sleep in the coffin workshop alone. That night,... (full context)
Chapter 17
Poverty, Institutions, and Class Theme Icon
Individualism and Social Bonds Theme Icon
...tragedy and comedy that occur in real life. The narrator then moves on to describe Bumble, who is paying a visit to Mrs. Mann at the workhouse. (full context)
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Bumble has been charged with overseeing the transport of some paupers to London, where there will... (full context)
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Dick, who fears that he is dying, tells Bumble that, when he does die, he would like to leave his "love" for Oliver, since... (full context)
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City and Country Theme Icon
Bumble, still agitated, travels to London on a cart with the paupers, and having deposited them... (full context)
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Poverty, Institutions, and Class Theme Icon
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Bumble is admitted to Brownlow's parlor, where Brownlow and Grimwig are sitting. Brownlow asks Bumble to... (full context)
Thievery and Crime Theme Icon
Poverty, Institutions, and Class Theme Icon
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...he never wishes to hear any more about Oliver for as long as he lives. Bumble leaves, and there are "sad hearts" at the Brownlow home that night. (full context)
Chapter 23
Poverty, Institutions, and Class Theme Icon
City and Country Theme Icon
...widow, Mr. Corney having died some years before. She hears a noise and realizes that Bumble has arrived. (full context)
Poverty, Institutions, and Class Theme Icon
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Bumble comes simply on a friendly visit. He begins a conversation with Mrs. Corney, complaining about... (full context)
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Bumble, while drinking his tea, flirts with Mrs. Corney, who is unsure how to respond to... (full context)
Chapter 27
Thievery and Crime Theme Icon
Individualism and Social Bonds Theme Icon
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...by jokingly "apologizing" to the reader for having abandoned so estimable a personage as the beadle Mr. Bumble for several chapters, while continuing with other parts of his "history." Bumble has... (full context)
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Individualism and Social Bonds Theme Icon
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The two begin kissing, and Bumble continues his wooing of Mrs. Corney. Bumble also reveals, after their wooing has gone on... (full context)
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Bumble promises that he will marry Mrs. Corney, and he leaves her, after kissing her goodbye,... (full context)
Chapter 37
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The narrator turns to the story of Bumble and Mrs. Corney (now Mrs. Bumble); they have been married two months, and Bumble is... (full context)
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Mr. Bumble and Mrs. Bumble fight about Bumble's laziness, and Mrs. Bumble ends up pushing him out... (full context)
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Individualism and Social Bonds Theme Icon
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Bumble becomes upset, and walks out of the room in a huff. He winds up in... (full context)
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The strange man goes on to imply that he knows, further, that Mrs. Bumble now has that package, taken from Old Sally (and originally possessed by Oliver's mother). The... (full context)
Chapter 38
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Bumble and his wife go to meet Monks, in a shabby old building down by the... (full context)
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Monks produces twenty-five gold coins and gives them to Mrs. Bumble, who begins her story of how she received the package from Sally. Mrs. Bumble describes... (full context)
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...blank for the last name), a wedding-ring, and two locks of hair. At this, Mrs. Bumble completes her story, and asks Monks whether this is what he wanted, and whether he... (full context)
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Monks then tells Mr. Bumble and Mrs. Bumble that this is all, and tells them, too, that they must keep... (full context)
Chapter 51
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Mr. Bumble and Mrs. Bumble are then brought into the hotel room, where they admit that Mrs.... (full context)
Chapter 53
Thievery and Crime Theme Icon
Poverty, Institutions, and Class Theme Icon
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City and Country Theme Icon
...con-man team, faking illness and taking money from people on the streets of London. The Bumbles, removed of their positions by the law, eventually become paupers and must live in the... (full context)