Summary and Analysis Chapter 53



Within three months, Rose Fleming and Harry Maylie are married in the bridegroom's church. They immediately occupy their country parsonage, and Mrs. Maylie comes to live with them.

The property remaining in Monks's possession would, if divided equally, yield three thousand pounds a year for each share. Although Oliver is entitled to everything, Brownlow suggests allowing Monks to keep half, thus giving him a chance to salvage his life. Oliver readily agrees to this.

Monks retains his alias and goes off to a remote part of the New World. After squandering his resources, he returns to a life of crime and, consequently, dies in prison. The other principal members of Fagin's old gang also perish, transported far from England.

Mr. Brownlow adopts Oliver. The old gentleman completes the boy's happiness by settling with him and Mrs. Bedwin within a mile of the parsonage.

Mr. Losberne, having been deprived of his friends in Chertsey, rationalizes a need for a change and sets up a bachelor establishment outside the village. He applies himself with relish to all sorts of rural pursuits. A friendship develops between the doctor and Mr. Grimwig, so Grimwig is a frequent visitor of the doctor's and vigorously takes part in his activities.

For testifying against Fagin, Noah Claypole receives a full pardon. In search of a light occupation, he becomes an informer, assisted by the able Charlotte. On Sunday during church time, they practice their duplicity. The woman pretends to faint in front of a pub and Noah gets some brandy to revive her. Then they report the establishment for selling a drink and are awarded half of the fine.

After losing their positions, the Bumbles sink into deep poverty. In the end, they both become inmates of the workhouse in which they once were such tyrants.

Giles and Brittles remain in their old situations. Their services are extended not only to the household at the parsonage but also to the homes of Brownlow and Mr. Losberne.

Charles Bates was so shocked by Sikes's gory crime and painful death that he gives up his dishonest ways. He works hard and succeeds as a herdsman in Northamptonshire.

The members of the little community centered in the village parsonage all lead a life of simple happiness, united by ties of affection and gratitude. They are as happy as it is granted to human beings to be: "And without strong affection and humanity of heart, and gratitude to that Being whose code is Mercy, and whose great attribute is Benevolence to all things that breathe, happiness can never be attained."

Inside the old church, there is an empty tomb with a marble tablet that bears the single name: "Agnes."


This last chapter completes the traditional dramatic distribution of rewards and punishments. Rounding off the narrative with the marriage of Harry and Rose follows is in keeping with the most respected conventions. It does not, in reality, have much direct bearing on the fortunes of the hero.

Giving Monks half the remains of his father's legacy is one more concession to the claims of benevolence and mercy. Monks is, however, too far gone in his life of crime to be restored to upright ways. Nevertheless, in his concluding words, Dickens reaffirms his conviction that the exercise of benevolence and mercy is a precondition for happiness.

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