The Pickwick Papers | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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The Pickwick Papers | Chapter 53 | Summary



Mr. Pickwick tells Arabella about his interaction with Mr. Winkle's father. She is saddened that her new husband might be cast off by his father, but Pickwick reassures her that he will help them out. He sets off for Perker's law office to arrange it. At the law office he encounters Mr. Jingle and Job Trotter. Pickwick has arranged for Mr. Jingle to take a position in the West Indies. Perker offered Job a position in his office, but he chooses to go with his friend. They both swear that they will pay back the money Mr. Pickwick has spent on them. Before Pickwick leaves the office, Dodson and Fogg arrive to receive their fee payment from Perker. Pickwick relieves his mind by repeatedly calling them "rascally, pettifogging robbers."


Friendship is the focus of this chapter. Mr. Pickwick's friendship with Mr. Winkle could save Mr. Winkle and Arabella from a difficult future. Since they eloped, their families are under no obligation to take them in or help them financially. Arabella has a small inheritance, but not enough to support them, particularly if they have multiple children, which many families did in the 1830s. Mr. Pickwick reassures Arabella that he will help them if Mr. Winkle, senior, remains adamant. Proving he is a man of his word, he sets off for his lawyer's at once.

At the lawyer's office Dickens features more examples of friendship. First is Job's friendship for Mr. Jingle. Although he has been offered a good position in London, Job feels that Mr. Jingle needs him and he takes a less promising position to stay with him. Mr. Lowten, the clerk, laughs at him, saying that every man must look out for himself first, but Pickwick is touched. Job has made himself responsible for Mr. Jingle in much the same way Sam feels responsible for Mr. Pickwick. Pickwick's new friendship with Mr. Jingle is also demonstrated, as Lowten makes it clear that Mr. Jingle and Job's new positions are due to Pickwick's long-standing business relationships. Mr. Pickwick's generosity with those two is so remarkable that even his lawyer, Mr. Perker, makes a genuinely emotional speech honoring it, a very unlawyerly thing to do.

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