Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist Chapter 46 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Nancy keeps arrives at the bridge, and Rose and Brownlow arrive just after her. Noah sneaks along the bridge and hides himself in an alcove just below the three; he is in a position to hear all, and escapes detection. Although Brownlow at first questions Nancy's truthfulness, after Nancy begins to speak, and tells of how Sikes would not allow her to leave the apartment last week, and how she again had to drug him with laudanum this week to escape, Brownlow seems convinced of her earnestness. Brownlow tells Nancy that they need to formulate a plan to get information about Oliver from the mysterious man Monks.
Brownlow tends to make moral decision quickly. When he first met Oliver, after he believed Oliver had taken his "wipe," Brownlow looked closely at the boy and realized, all of a sudden, that Oliver was incapable of theft. Here, after hearing very little from Nancy, Brownlow is convinced that she is telling the truth, and that he can trust her. Of course, Brownlow was deeply shaken when he believed in Oliver and then Oliver ran away—which was, perhaps, why Brownlow then tried so hard to find out more information about Oliver's life.
Themes
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
Brownlow says that, if they cannot secure Monks, then Nancy will have to hand over Fagin to them. Nancy becomes upset at this, however, saying that, though Fagin and Sikes are vile men, she cannot betray them; she has no relationship with Monks, and therefore does not feel the same loyalty to him. Brownlow and Rose promise that, if they get the information about Oliver they need, no harm will come to Fagin or Sikes without Nancy's consent. Nancy is relieved to hear this.
Nancy repeats, for the third time, her wish that neither Fagin nor Sikes get in trouble because of the information she (Nancy) will provide to Brownlow. Just as Rose knits together her family, Nancy offers the possibility of a social bond among the criminals—but her awful fate will highlight how impossible such bonds of love are to maintain among criminals.
Themes
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
Nancy describes Monks to Rose and Brownlow, and tells how he might be found at the pub the Three Cripples. Brownlow gives a start at the description of a scar on Monks' face—he believes he might have seen Monks before. Brownlow thanks Nancy for her information, and Brownlow and Rose attempt to convince Nancy to come with them, and not to go home to the dangerous Sikes. But Nancy says she cannot leave him, nor the rest of her criminal "friends."
Once again, Brownlow appears to recognize someone, in the same way that he recognized Oliver and Oliver's similarity to the picture of his mother Brownlow hangs in his parlor. It is perhaps hard to believe that Brownlow's interactions with Oliver's father were so distant in the past that he does not immediately figure out the novel's central mystery, but of course, without that there would be no novel.
Themes
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
Rose is deeply upset that Nancy will not go with them, and that Nancy will take no money from them. Nancy tells Rose and Brownlow that, one day soon, she (Nancy) will die and become another forgotten soul in London. Rose is shocked to hear this, but Brownlow tells her they must depart, and they do so; Nancy departs in a different direction just after. After all three leaves, Noah sneaks back to tell Fagin what he has heard.
Rose tries, for the second time to convince Nancy that she can be helped by Rose and the Maylie family if she leaves Sikes. But Nancy denies Rose's help for the last time, and when she heads back to Sikes' apartment, she will not leave there alive. Nancy seems to foresee her fate.
Themes
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
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