Summary and Analysis Chapter 32



Oliver's broken arm is healing as he recovers from the illness brought on by his terrible experience. He is particularly determined to convince Rose Maylie of his gratitude and ardent desire to demonstrate his sincerity by deeds. Rose promises that he will have ample opportunity, for her aunt intends to take Oliver to the country with them. Oliver also is thinking about those who formerly cared for him when he was in desperate circumstances. Mr. Losberne has already offered to take him to see Mr. Brownlow.

When Oliver has partially regained his strength, he and the doctor take Mrs. Maylie's carriage for a trip to London. As they come to Chertsey Bridge, Oliver becomes suddenly agitated. He points to an old house, whispering that it is the place from which the robbers operated. The doctor impetuously jumps out of the vehicle and invades the building.

Inside, he finds an ugly humpbacked man. Nothing in the interior corresponds with Oliver's descriptions. During the confrontation between the doctor and the occupant, the cripple claims that he has been living there alone for twenty-five years. The doctor gives him a coin and retreats. In the carriage, Mr. Losberne has fleeting doubts about Oliver's truthfulness but dismisses them and reproaches himself for the habit of yielding to impulses.

When they stop before Mr. Brownlow's house, they are greeted by a "For Rent" sign in the window. From the next-door neighbors they discover that Brownlow had sold all of his goods and left for the West Indies with his housekeeper and a friend six weeks ago. Oliver urges a visit to the bookstall, but the doctor vetoes the proposal.

Oliver is grievously disappointed at losing a chance of letting Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. Bedwin know of his well-being and of redeeming his reputation with them. He continues, however, in the good graces of his present benefactors. Leaving Giles and another servant in the Chertsey house, Mrs. Maylie and Rose take Oliver with them to a distant cottage.

It is balmy springtime in the country, and the boy who has spent so much time living in grimy and ugly surroundings responds joyfully to the calm and the natural beauty around him. The days are peaceful and happy, and the nights free from care and insecurity.

An old gentleman teaches Oliver to write and helps him to improve his reading. Oliver cheerfully prepares his daily lessons. He now finds occasions to perform acts of kindness and useful services for the two ladies, in whose company he spends many delightful hours. In this idyllic fashion, three months pass.


In this transitional chapter, Oliver is taken to an environment that is appropriate to the brightened aspect of his situation. Although the dismal events of his London experiences took place against a background of gloom, damp cold, and filth, he experiences this period of "true felicity" in a setting under brilliant sunlight and clear skies. Instead of the noisy tumult and oppressive crowding of the city, there is quiet calm and spaciousness. Harsh discords and foul odors have been replaced by gentle music and sweet fragrance of flowers.

Mr. Losberne's thoughtless barging into the house by the Chertsey Bridge illustrates that the tendency to act on impulse is one of the doctor's fundamental traits. Not content to let his character's nature be brought out by deeds and his own reflections, Dickens injects with more explanation.

The London journey is another example of how circumstances conspire to deprive Oliver of a chance to be completely vindicated in the eyes of his benefactors. A visit to the bookseller's stall would probably have yielded corroboration of a critical portion of his history.

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