WOW! I'm absolutely astonished by the events that transpired in these chapters. The suspense is brilliantly placed, the plot is starting to reveal itself. I'm just lucky I don't have to be like the Victorians and wait until Dickens' next publishing to read the end!
But the big surprise, I hate to spoil this for everone is: SPOILER [skip this line if you don't want to know]:
Monks, Fagin's friend and fellow thief, is Oliver Twist's half-brother!
But before I get to the end, I'll focus for a [quick] moment on the present.
That, of course, always begins with vocabulary:
1. donned: put on: to put on a garment
2. tenement: urban apartment building: a large residential building in a city, usually of three or more stories and with only basic amenities, where a large number of people live in self-contained rented apartments
3. breeches: knee-length pants: pants with legs that come down to the knee
4. repugnance: strong dislike: a very strong dislike or distaste
5. sallies: sudden action: a sudden burst of activity or springing into action (anyone reading this whose name is Sally, don't be frightened, the word is archaic)
6. laudanum: opium and alcohol solution: a solution of opium in alcohol, formerly used to treat pain
On such a brilliant section, there have to be some brilliant quotes, right? RIGHT???
1. "They were no sooner gone, than Monks, who appeared to entertain an invincible repugnance to being left alone, called to a boy who had been hidden somewhere below..."
~Dickens is giving some insight into the character of Monks, a shady character who we know little about at this point in the novel, saying that he has a repugnance, or dislike, of being left alone. Perhaps this will play a role later when aslearn more about Monks in the coming sections.
2. "With a sigh for every piece of money, Fagin told the amount into her [Nancy's] hand."
~This quote, similar to a prevalent theme in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice regarding the character of Shylock, also Jewish, is expressing the gentile way of making fun of Jews. Dickens, as Shakespeare did, is mocking the Jew and his want for money (in this case, as a thief) and the fact that he sighs every time he gives away a coin for Nancy to use, even though she's his friend, proves this.
3. "The girl's life had been squandered in the streets, and among the most noisome of the stews and dens of London, but there was something of the woman's original nature left in her still; and when she heard a light step approaching the door opposite to that by which she had entered...she felt burdened with the sense of her own deep shame."
~This quote, referring to Nancy, is a deep quote because it deal directly with the inner character of Nancy. Dickens is putting her ultimate conflict in this novel into words: should she follow her instincts against Sikes and against Fagin to help Oliver and share what she knows? Or, should she keep the information to herself, and try to feign being something she's not on the inside--a crimelord. (SPOILER [don't read if you don't want a surprise ruined]: In the end, she makes the correct decision)
4. "The two hastened back together, to bear to Mr. Fagin the animating news that the Dodger was doing full justice to his bringing-up, and establishing for himself a glorious reputation."
~This quote is almost poetic justice, since toward the end of the book, Dodger, the person who got Oliver into the whole mess with Fagin trying to capture him and corrupt him in the first place, the expert pickpocket, finally gets caught at his own game. This line is almost indirectly revenge for Oliver. Fagin's best pickpocket is nabbed and punished, implying that Oliver made the right decision to stay away.
5. "Pretty well I [Noah] think for a beginner." The pots I took off airy railings, and the milk can was standing by itself outside a public house."
~The ramifications of this quote are twofold. First, the fact that Noah is being corrupted just like any other boy under Fagin, putting Fagin the Jew in an extremely bad light. In addition, This phrase sets up a comparison between Oliver and his nemesis, Noah. They were raised together in the same house for a short period of time, but look how different they come out. Noah joins the crowd and becomes a thief for Fagin, like the rest of the boys. However, Oliver strives to become different--above stealing, distinguished, rather than diminished to a lower level of life.
6. “Stay another moment,” interposed Rose. . . . “Will you return to this gang of robbers, and to this man, when a word can save you? What fascination is it that can take you back, and make you cling to wickedness and misery?”
~This intense conversation occurs between Rose and Nancy on the London Bridge. Rose tries, desperately to convince Nancy to renounce her ways, abandoning Sikes and Fagin, once and for all. However, Nancy refuses; she claims that she's ingrained too deep in that sort of life to be able to leave it successfully.
I am absolutely astonished by the events that transpired in these chapters. How can it be that Oliver Twist is Monks' half-brother. It's impossible! Suddenly, every person that he meets on the street, plotting to capture and torture him is related to him? I find it most unbelievable. In addition, Nancy, who has been a criminal all her life, suddenly decides to eavesdrop on her boss, Fagin, finding out information. But it's not just that she finds out information, it's the fact that she creeps out, deceives her husband, Sikes, and goes to tell the "good guys," on the London Bridge! Not only that, but once they have learned Nancy's critical piece of information, they elect not to tell Oliver about it! Outrageous!!! He's been an orphan all his life, and now they know information regarding his potential family--and they refuse to tell him! Dickens, here is being absolutely fictitious. There is no way that Nancy would rat out her boss to these people, and then go back to him, afterward. Also, it's not possible that characters like Brownlow, aware of Oliver's connections, would decide to keep that information from him, after they know what he had gone through up to this point.
Ok, I'm calm now. There seems to be yet another progressing theme emerging from these chapters. Namely, that there can be a character who looks totally bad on the outside, but inside, their motives are different, or they are not who they seem to be. For example, Nancy is a villain from birth, yet her motives on the inside, and her actions that match those, are pure. She chooses to help Oliver, rather than obeying Fagin, her "master" since birth. Also, Monks, the ultimate criminal is not who he seems to be because he turns out to be Oliver's half-brother. As the novel winds down, we will undoubtedly discover more of Monks' true intentions regarding himself and Oliver Twist.