The Pickwick Papers | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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The Pickwick Papers | Chapter 24 | Summary

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Summary

Mr. Pickwick coaches a nervous Mr. Magnus on how to propose. Magnus's proposal is accepted and he invites Pickwick to meet his wife-to-be. She is the same lady whose room Mr. Pickwick accidentally invaded the night before. Mr. Pickwick and the lady are embarrassed, Magnus suspicious. Magnus and Pickwick begin shouting and threatening to fight a duel; Mr. Tupman is also present as a witness. The lady is horrified and dashes off to the town magistrate to have Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman arrested in order to prevent the duel. In reality the whole thing would have blown over with no duel, but the lady is too terrified to realize that. Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman are arrested, by order of the magistrate, Mr. Nupkins. Mr. Snodgrass, Mr. Winkle, and Sam get arrested when they try to rescue Pickwick and Tupman. In the end they all wind up at Mr. Nupkins's house—the same house Job Trotter had emerged from that morning.

Analysis

Another discussion of dueling, this time featuring a woman who is so weak and frightened that she is incapable of understanding masculine things like the nuances of dueling. Like Tom Smart's widow in Chapter 14, this lady needs a man to look after her. Since Magnus expresses himself to be a conventional man who dislikes unusual things, she is probably the ideal woman for him.

A good debate could be had over who is more ineffectual, the magistrate's men, led by the self-important Mr. Grummer, or the Pickwickians. Sam, however, shows himself to be not only utterly loyal to Mr. Pickwick, but good in a fight. In fact, he is so effective the magistrate's men believe him to be a desperate criminal.

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