Chapters 47–53 Summary

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Chapter 47

Fagin is outraged by Nancy’s betrayal and is consumed with hatred when Sikes arrives. Noah tells Sikes about Nancy’s meeting; Sikes is shocked to hear the report and leaves determined to act. Fagin warns him not to be “too violent” so as not to cast any suspicion on the crime ring. 

Sikes returns to his apartment and orders Nancy to get out of bed. Nancy begs for his mercy and offers an alternate plan: they can leave the country together. She struggles and Sikes hits her twice on the head with his pistol. Nancy raises her hand above her clasping Rose’s handkerchief and praying to God before Sikes beats her with a club to be sure she is dead. 

Chapter 48

Sikes has stayed in the apartment for some time, afraid to move despite the extremely bloody scene. When he leaves, Sikes walks through town haphazardly, unsure what to do. He feels that other people are looking at him suspiciously. That night, he goes into a pub. Sikes keeps imagining Nancy’s eyes. Later, he hears people shouting about a fire, and he throws all of his energy into trying to help. Once it is over, though, he is haunted again by Nancy. Sikes decides to go back to London, thinking it may be the safest place to hide. 

Chapter 49

Brownlow brings Monks to his house and tells him that if he does not talk—or if he tries to escape—he will be taken to the police. Brownlow says Monks has a brother, which Monks denies. However, the gentleman knows that Monks’s history intersects with Oliver’s, so Monks cannot continue to plead ignorance. 

Monks is the son of Brownlow’s friend, Leeford, and a woman ten years his senior. They had a miserable marriage after the man’s father forced him into the union. Once they had separated, the wife and son nursed a hatred for his father. Leeford later befriended a naval officer with two daughters. Leeford and one of the daughters fell in love, a circumstance Brownlow laments. After about a year, Leeford and the daughter planned to marry. Leeford went to Rome to claim his uncle’s inheritance but grew fatally ill there and left no will, so the inheritance passed to Monks and his mother. Before Leeford went to Rome, he visited Brownlow and left him a painting of Agnes, his beloved. Leeford anxiously wanted to change all of his property to money, leave some to Monks, and take the rest with him out of the country (Brownlow suspected he and Agnes would elope). Brownlow tried to find her family, but they had been evicted. 

Brownlow recounts Oliver’s convalescence at Brownlow’s house. He recalls sensing something familiar about Oliver’s face and how he was able to connect the boy to the painting. Once Oliver disappeared, Brownlow investigated Oliver and his connection to Leeford. Brownlow went to the West Indies in search of Monks. Unfortunately, Monks had already departed for London. Brownlow knows that Monks’s mother destroyed Leeford’s will and that Monks threw evidence of Oliver’s parentage in the river. 

Monks signs a statement admitting the truth. Brownlow pleads for Monks to right the wrongs he has done to Oliver. After this interview, Brownlow learns from Dr. Losberne that Sikes will be arrested for Nancy’s murder. Both men are eager to witness justice on Nancy’s behalf. 

Chapter 50

Some of the thieves from Fagin’s company have fled to a seedy neighborhood near the Thames to hide from the police. Fagin has been arrested, and Charley has escaped through the chimney. Sikes’s dog arrives, confusing the occupants of the room, who hope Sikes is not on his way. When Sikes arrives, he questions them about Fagin. Charley seems afraid of Sikes and won’t come near him. The boys lunge at Sikes and take him down, but Sikes is stronger and eventually escapes. An angry crowd has gathered outside to witness Sikes’s arrest. The murderer attempts to escape by going onto the roof. He tries to lower himself with a rope but ends up accidentally hanging himself.

Chapter 51

Oliver and his friends travel to Oliver’s birthplace. At Brownlow’s prompting, Monks confirms that Oliver is the illegitimate child of Leeford and Agnes. Monks confesses that Leeford left two papers on his desk at the time of his death: a will and a letter to Agnes. 

The letter expresses Leeford’s regret that he and Agnes could not marry yet despite her pregnancy. The will left some money to Monks and his mother, but most of the property was to be split between Agnes and Oliver, assuming the child never sullied his father’s name. Monks’s mother burned the will to prevent them from inheriting the property. Agnes’s family fled to Wales in shame, where her father died. Much later, Leeford’s wife came to see Brownlow. She was nearing death and reported that Monks stole everything and fled. Monks returned to see his mother before her death, arriving in time to hear all of the secrets of his father’s inheritance, his relationship with Agnes, and the child she was sure had been born of the union. From that point on, Monks made it his mission to sabotage Oliver. 

Next, the Bumbles are brought in to testify that Monks destroyed Agnes’s ring and locket. Brownlow announces that the Bumbles will never be allowed to work in service to the poor again. Brownlow asks Monks if he knows Rose, and to her surprise, he says yes. Agnes’s father had two daughters, and when he died, the second daughter was adopted “by some wretched cottagers” who found her. The cottagers heard about the shame in the girl’s family and mistreated her. Rose was later taken in by the widow Mrs. Maylie. Oliver and Rose celebrate their newfound connection while also mourning their shared familial loss. 

At this point, Harry proposes to Rose. She says that since circumstances have not changed, she cannot have changed her mind. Harry reveals, though, that he has given up his prospects to marry her. They will live in the countryside, where he will be a clergyman. Oliver returns to the room in tears, having learned that Dick is dead. 

Chapter 52

Fagin is found guilty and sentenced to death. Fagin spends several days in prison, during which time his sanity deteriorates. Brownlow brings Oliver and insists that Fagin see the boy. The criminal is hallucinating and babbling to his imaginary charges. Upon noticing Brownlow and Oliver, Fagin hides in the corner of his cell. Brownlow demands that Fagin tell them the location of some papers Monks gave to Fagin. The prisoner asks Oliver to come closer, and he whispers the location of the papers into the boy’s ear. Oliver cries and seems to pity Fagin. The square is full of witnesses waiting to see Fagin hang.

Chapter 53 

Rose and Harry get married, and Mrs. Maylie moves in with them. Monks and Oliver split Leeford’s inheritance, even though Oliver is entitled to all of it. Brownlow wants to give Monks a chance to redeem himself. However, Monks squanders his money in America and dies in jail. Brownlow officially adopts Oliver, and the two move close to the Maylie household. The Bumbles become the paupers they once so disdained, and their marriage ends. Giles and Brittles serve at both the Maylie home and the Brownlow home. Charley reforms after Sikes’s murder of Nancy and becomes a cattle farmer. The narrator foresees the characters’ happy, peaceful lives but highlights that the orphans, Rose and Oliver, have overcome great adversity to treat everyone with the love, affection, and respect that they were so deprived of in their respective childhoods. The name Agnes is engraved in the village church in her memory, and the narrator imagines that her spirit sometimes mingles with the joyful villagers.

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Chapters 42–46 Summary