While Sikes may be looked upon as representative of the lowest depths of criminal society, Nancy finds her place near the upper fringe. Her tendency toward goodness has not been totally extinguished in her but still lies dormant. When put to a test, her better nature asserts itself on Oliver's behalf, even though she is certain that her own position is hopeless.
When Nancy makes contact with the world of conventional behavior as represented by Rose and Brownlow, she judges that she has taken the path of error that must inevitably lead to destruction. Convinced that she is so caught up in the thickets of evil that no amount of good intentions or effort could help her anymore, Nancy is a lamentable example of human waste. Dickens has set her as an example of a basically good person who has drifted so far from honest ways that no return is possible.