The Pickwick Papers | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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The Pickwick Papers | Chapter 11 | Summary

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Summary

The next morning Mr. Pickwick learns that Mr. Tupman left Manor Farm and no one knows where he is. They find him in the town of Cobham and persuade him to continue traveling with them. Before they leave Dingley Dell, the old clergyman gives Pickwick a manuscript written by a madman.

As they head back to the inn, Pickwick discovers a stone, half-buried in the ground, with an inscription on it. Pickwick buys the stone and brings it back to the inn, convinced that it is a relic of some long-ago civilization. Unable to sleep that night, Pickwick reads the madman's manuscript, which recounts his descent into madness and the attempted murder of his wife. The next day the Pickwickians return to town to display Pickwick's great discovery to the club. Mr. Blotton claims the stone is not ancient and actually travels to Cobham to prove it. He finds reasonable evidence that the stone is nothing special, but the club ignores him and places their trust in Pickwick.

Analysis

Mr. Tupman's behavior serves as a contrast to that of Mr. Jingle. Tupman is genuinely disappointed by what happened with Miss Wardle, but he is enough of a gentleman to leave so that he does not upset her. His romantic nature shows through, as he leaves a note to his friends that is so somber they worry about him. When they find Mr. Tupman, though, he does not seem inconsolable, being about to tuck into a large meal.

Dickens makes a point of noting how difficult it is for all of them to leave Manor Farm, paying particular attention to the reaction of Emily Wardle and Mr. Snodgrass. But Pickwick seems unaware of their difficulties: his mind is focused on finding Mr. Tupman.

The other incident in this chapter is Mr. Pickwick's discovery of the stone. Once again, Dickens pokes fun at learned societies and people who take themselves too seriously. Mr. Blotton's explanation is the more likely one, but no one believes that Mr. Pickwick can be wrong. In fact, Dickens says that Mr. Pickwick was elected as an honorary member of 17 other learned societies on the basis of his "discovery."

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