Monkss unwitting authoring of authors through

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Monks’s unwitting authoring of authors through melodramatic intrigue also completes the undoing of Bumble, this time on a parodic level. Originally the butt of the satire on the Workhouse, Bumble later becomes the target of the attack on self-interested marriage, with Mrs. Corney demonstrating her own authority over her failed author by beating him in front of the Workhouse women. It is Monks, though (and through him, Oliver), who finishes Bumble. The poetic justice of Bumble’s final consummation as a Workhouse inmate himself is ensured by his participation in the destruction of the physical evidence of Oliver’s identity, narrated in full Gothic mode (Ch. 38, 248-56). Blaming his wife will not work since he is legally responsible for her, so the law has the last word on its own self-promoting representative (Ch. 51, 354). The gothic-comic echoes the gothic-realism of the main story: in both cases, through initially attracting Monks, Oliver triggers narratives that work primarily 28
through women (Nancy, Rose Maylie and Mrs. Corney) to destroy the self-authoring dramas constructed by men. Mr Bumble Oliver owes his name to Mr Bumble the parish beadle of the town where he was born. He names all the orphans of the poor house alphabetically. Mr Bumble bullies the poor and is a pompous and corrupt person. Part of the humour of the book arises from his behaviour and speech. The position he has is that of a minor officer but he pretends to be a person of great importance. He threatens the paupers but ends up as a pauper himself. His hypocrisy is also humorous. After courting Mrs Corney the matron of the workhouse at her office he rebukes Noah Claypole and Charlotte for kissing each other when at work in Mr Sowerberry’ place. He is the person in the novel who for one reason or another knows a good deal about Oliver’s past. He speaks ill of Oliver to Mr Brownlow and arranges a meeting of his wife with Monks and gives him the few things which could establish Oliver’s identity. A bully himself he is beaten into submission by his wife whom he has married in the hope of improving his fortune. When he is before the Board members he is humiliated for his inability to answer questions precisely. We are left with many impressions of Mr Bumble--a corrupt and pompous official, a henpecked husband, a representative of an inefficient parish management, a hypocrite, a person whom one is amused at. Mrs Corney/Bumble Mrs Corney is the matron of the workhouse. A greedy person she is worse than Mr Bumble whom she later marries. Her attitude towards the paupers in her care is worse than Bumble’s. The way she behaves exposes the deficiencies of the system which had been put in place for the care of the poor. One is inclined to sympathise with Mr Bumble in spite of his defects for he pays a heavy price for getting married to her. She humiliates him in front of the paupers she is supposed to be taking care of. Even Monks notices her dominating nature and comments on it.

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