Oliver Twist Chapters 36–41 Summary
by Charles Dickens

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Chapters 36–41 Summary

Chapter 36

Harry and the doctor leave together in the carriage and discuss Harry’s professional prospects. Dr. Losberne suggests that Harry will be in parliament by the end of the year, and it seems that Harry’s uncle has some connection to his potential career goals. Before the men leave, Harry asks Oliver to write to him regularly with updates on Rose. The carriage departs, and the narrator relates that Rose has been watching from the window, even a while after they have left, and has been crying.

Chapter 37

Mr. Bumble has married Mrs. Corney, but he is not adjusting well to life as the master of the workhouse. Bumble laments his fall in status, and the relationship has quickly soured. Bumble tries to enforce his rule over his wife as the man of the house, and she attempts to manipulate his feelings by bursting into tears. Bumble turns to leave, and his wife throws something at him that knocks off his hat; she then physically attacks him. She orders him to leave, and he says he will. On his way out, Bumble stops in the washroom and begins to insult the women who work there. He finds his wife is already there, and she humiliates him in front of the women, who are greatly entertained by the scene. 

Bumble goes to the pub, and a stranger sits by him and strikes up a conversation. The man, Monks, inquires about Bumble’s past as a beadle and eventually asks him if he remembers Oliver Twist or the nurse who delivered him. Bumble reveals that the former nurse has died but tells Monks that Mrs. Corney knows something about the woman, and Bumble agrees to bring her to meet Monks the following evening. 

Chapter 38 

The following night, Mr. and Mrs. Bumble go to the mysterious address provided by Monks. The building is run-down, with some of it already collapsed into the water below and the rest hardly standing over it. Once inside, the Bumbles are greeted by Monks, who says he falls into strange fits when he hears thunder. Monks pays them for the information on the nurse and Oliver’s mother. It turns out that Sally, Oliver’s dying nurse, gave Mrs. Bumble a paper that revealed she had pawned a valuable gift left with her by Oliver’s mother. Mrs. Bumble hands over a gold locket and wedding ring that is engraved with “Agnes.” Monks opens a trap door and tosses the items into a rushing stream of water travelling under the house. He tells the Bumbles to forget all about the meeting and the name Monks. 

Chapter 39

Sikes, now living in an even dirtier and less comfortable abode, has been recovering from a terrible fever for a long time. Nancy, also in poor health, has nursed him. He asks Nancy to help him get out of bed. She complies but not to his liking, so he hits her. She is encouraged by his behavior, because he is acting more like his old self. Soon, though, Nancy is upset and faints. Fagin enters the room to see what is going on, and Jack and Charley revive Nancy. Fagin and company have brought him food, tea, sugar, and wine. Sikes attacks them for letting him lie around in such a pitiful state for so long without coming to check on him. Fagin thinks Sikes is being ungrateful, and eventually Fagin admits that he was out of town. Sikes wants money from Fagin, and they argue over the sum. Nancy will return with Fagin to his residence and bring Sikes the money. 

Fagin goes upstairs to get the money, but before he can complete the task, Monks arrives. Fagin and Monks take their conversation to another part of the house but Nancy follows and listens at the door. Fagin finally returns with the money and Nancy chastises him for taking so long. Once Nancy leaves, she sits down, confused about what to do next, before she begins running and eventually weeping. She returns to Sikes. The money calms Sikes down, but he suspects Nancy has some “dangerous” ideas. She puts laudanum in Sikes’s drink, waits until he is asleep, and hurriedly makes her way to a hotel in Hyde Park. She asks to see Miss Maylie. The workers are appalled by...

(The entire section is 1,283 words.)