The Pickwick Papers | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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The Pickwick Papers | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • The first journey

    The Pickwickians begin first journey and meet Mr. Jingle.

    Chapter 2
  • Almost a duel

    A case of mistaken identity almost draws Mr. Winkle into a duel.

    Chapter 2
  • Visit with the Wardles

    The Pickwickians stay with the Wardles at Manor Farm.

    Chapter 6
  • An elopement

    Mr. Jingle steals Miss Rachael Wardle from Mr. Tupman and elopes with her.

    Chapter 9
  • Paying off Jingle

    Pickwick and Wardle pay Mr. Jingle to leave Rachael; Pickwick meets Sam.

    Chapter 10
  • The misunderstanding

    Pickwick speaks to Mrs. Bardell about Sam, but she thinks he is proposing marriage.

    Chapter 12
  • The search for Mr. Jingle

    Pickwick and Sam follow Mr. Jingle, but Mr. Jingle and Job Trotter trick Pickwick.

    Chapter 16
  • The accusation

    Mrs. Bardell sues Pickwick for breach of promise.

    Chapter 18
  • The trial

    Pickwick loses his case to Mrs. Bardell but refuses to pay.

    Chapter 34
  • A secret meeting

    Pickwick helps Mr. Winkle visit Arabella Allen.

    Chapter 39
  • Imprisoned

    Pickwick is sent to debtors' prison.

    Chapter 40
  • Meeting friends in prison

    Pickwick discovers Mr. Jingle and Job Trotter in prison and helps them.

    Chapter 42
  • Sam goes to prison

    Sam goes to prison to protect Pickwick.

    Chapter 43
  • Mrs. Bardell in prison

    Dodson and Fogg have Mrs. Bardell sent to prison for unpaid lawyers' fees.

    Chapter 46
  • Mr. Winkle's surprise

    Mr. Winkle and Arabella reveal they have eloped and are now married.

    Chapter 47
  • Freed from prison

    Pickwick pays his debt; he, Sam, and Mrs. Bardell are freed; he helps Mr. Jingle and Job.

    Chapter 48
  • Peace in the family

    Pickwick assists the newlyweds in patching things up with Arabella's brother.

    Chapter 48
  • Another wedding

    Pickwick helps Mr. Snodgrass win the girl of his dreams, Emily Wardle.

    Chapter 54
  • A happy ending

    Pickwick and Sam settle down together; Sam and Mary get married.

    Chapter 57

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 The novel is introduced as coming from the annals of the Pickwick Club; its goal is to provide further insight into the ... Read More
Chapter 2 Mr. Pickwick sets off on his travels. Even before leaving London, he accidentally upsets a cab driver, who challenges hi... Read More
Chapter 3 Mr. Jingle again joins the Pickwickians at dinner and brings a friend, the aptly named "Dismal Jemmy," who entertains th... Read More
Chapter 4 The next day the Pickwickians watch the maneuvers of the local Army units. Mr. Tupman disappears, but Mr. Snodgrass, Mr.... Read More
Chapter 5 During a walk before breakfast, Pickwick encounters Dismal Jemmy, who asks and receives permission to send him a tale to... Read More
Chapter 6 The Wardles host a party and Mr. Pickwick and his companions meet many people, including Mr. Wardle's elderly, deaf moth... Read More
Chapter 7 The next morning Mr. Wardle invites Mr. Winkle to go shooting with him; the other three Pickwickians go along to watch. ... Read More
Chapter 8 Back at the Wardles' house, Mr. Tupman has received tender care from Rachael, Isabella, and Emily and has grown even mor... Read More
Chapter 9 As everyone sits down to supper, the servants discover that Mr. Jingle and Rachael have eloped. Mr. Wardle and Mr. Pickw... Read More
Chapter 10 Sam Weller is working at an inn, cleaning boots. He hears from a maid that a lady and gentleman came in late at night (M... Read More
Chapter 11 The next morning Mr. Pickwick learns that Mr. Tupman left Manor Farm and no one knows where he is. They find him in the ... Read More
Chapter 12 Mr. Pickwick lives in an apartment rented out by a widow named Mrs. Bardell. He begins a conversation which she totally ... Read More
Chapter 13 The Pickwickians visit the town of Eatanswill where the townspeople are holding a closely contested election between a B... Read More
Chapter 14 While Mr. Pickwick involves himself in the election and Mr. Winkle entertains Mrs. Potts, Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Tupman e... Read More
Chapter 15 The Pickwickians attend a costume party breakfast held by Mrs. Leo Hunter, who prides herself on collecting together gue... Read More
Chapter 16 Mr. Pickwick and Sam arrive at the Angel, an inn in Bury St. Edmunds, where Sam encounters Job Trotter. Job is Mr. Jingl... Read More
Chapter 17 After his evening adventures, Mr. Pickwick is laid up with rheumatism. Sam does his best to amuse his master, resulting ... Read More
Chapter 18 Back in Eatanswill, Mr. Winkle is still staying with the Potts. One morning he comes down to breakfast to find Mr. Pott ... Read More
Chapter 19 Mr. Wardle takes Mr. Winkle and Mr. Tupman out shooting, although neither of these gentlemen seem to have any idea of wh... Read More
Chapter 20 Returning to town, Mr. Pickwick calls upon Dodson and Fogg. While waiting he overhears the clerks describing the lawyers... Read More
Chapter 21 The group of clerks exchange stories about haunted and miserable law chambers. An old gentleman sitting near Mr. Lowten ... Read More
Chapter 22 Sam and Mr. Weller are waiting for Mr. Pickwick so they can look for Mr. Jingle in Ipswich. Sam's father announces that ... Read More
Chapter 23 The next morning, Mr. Weller takes leave from his son. Afterward, Sam spots Job Trotter, though Job seems to be contorti... Read More
Chapter 24 Mr. Pickwick coaches a nervous Mr. Magnus on how to propose. Magnus's proposal is accepted and he invites Pickwick to me... Read More
Chapter 25 The Pickwickians are charged with various crimes. The magistrate, believing them vicious criminals, refuses to listen to... Read More
Chapter 26 Mr. Pickwick sends Sam to collect his things from Mrs. Bardell's. He suggests that Sam might also try to find out whethe... Read More
Chapter 27 Sam goes to visit his father and stepmother. He arrives to find his father off working and his stepmother visiting with ... Read More
Chapter 28 The four Pickwickians travel to Dingley Dell to celebrate Christmas and Bella Wardle's marriage to Mr. Trundle. Emily, h... Read More
Chapter 29 Sitting around the Christmas fire, Mr. Wardle tells the story of the ill-tempered sexton Gabriel Grub, who is digging a ... Read More
Chapter 30 Two new people arrive at Manor Farm: Arabella Allen's brother, Ben, and his friend, Bob Sawyer. Both are medical student... Read More
Chapter 31 Mr. Pickwick and his friends are served with subpoenas by Dodson and Fogg. Mr. Snodgrass, Mr. Winkle, Mr. Tupman, and Sa... Read More
Chapter 32 Bob Sawyer, one of the medical students the Pickwickians met at Manor Farm, hosts a party for friends and invites Mr. Pi... Read More
Chapter 33 The day before Pickwick v. Bardell comes to court, Sam's father summons him. Sam heads off to meet his father, but is st... Read More
Chapter 34 The Bardell v. Pickwick trial commences. Mrs. Bardell's lawyers describe Mr. Pickwick as a schemer and deceiver who inte... Read More
Chapter 35 The trial over, Mr. Pickwick proposes to visit the city of Bath with his friends. On the coach to Bath, the Pickwickians... Read More
Chapter 36 Mr. Pickwick rents a house for himself and his friends, inviting Mr. and Mrs. Dowler to stay with them. One night, Pickw... Read More
Chapter 37 John Smauker, the dignified servant to the Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Bantam, invites Sam to attend a servants' party. He... Read More
Chapter 38 Mr. Winkle escapes to Bristol where he unexpectedly encounters the two medical students, Bob Sawyer and Ben Allen. Sawye... Read More
Chapter 39 The next day brings Mr. Pickwick to Bristol to stay with Mr. Winkle. While searching for Arabella, Sam unexpectedly find... Read More
Chapter 40 Upon returning to London, Mr. Pickwick is arrested by a sheriff's officer, Namby, and his assistant, Smouch, despite Sam... Read More
Chapter 41 The turnkey leads Mr. Pickwick to his bed in debtors' prison. Pickwick seems less concerned with his own situation and m... Read More
Chapter 42 Mr. Pickwick is assigned to a room with three other prisoners, but discovers he can pay for a private room. He arranges ... Read More
Chapter 43 Sam goes to find his father, who is at a pub near the Insolvent Court, where a friend's case is to be heard that day. Mr... Read More
Chapter 44 Mr. Pickwick wants to pay Sam's bill, but Sam refuses and distracts Pickwick with a story about a man who eats a large n... Read More
Chapter 45 Sam receives a jailhouse visit from his father, his stepmother, and Mr. Stiggins. His stepmother and Stiggins don't know... Read More
Chapter 46 Mrs. Bardell is enjoying tea at Hampstead Heath, a large park in the north of London, with her son and a group of friend... Read More
Chapter 47 Perker's office is closed for the day, but with the help of his clerk, Job finds Perker at home. Perker is delighted to ... Read More
Chapter 48 Arabella's aunt, with whom she had been staying, goes to Bob Sawyer's office to inform him and Ben, Arabella's brother, ... Read More
Chapter 49 This chapter recounts a ghost story about the bagman's uncle, who was walking late one night and dozes off near a desert... Read More
Chapter 50 Mr. Pickwick sets out to meet with Mr. Winkle's father and plead the newlyweds' case. Ben Allen and Bob Sawyer come alon... Read More
Chapter 51 Mr. Pickwick, Sam, Sawyer, and Ben Allen stop at an inn on a cold, wet night. There they find Mr. Pott, the newspaper ed... Read More
Chapter 52 Back in London Sam receives a letter from his father. His stepmother has died. Sam visits his father and learns that his... Read More
Chapter 53 Mr. Pickwick tells Arabella about his interaction with Mr. Winkle's father. She is saddened that her new husband might b... Read More
Chapter 54 Mr. Wardle arrives at Perker the lawyer's office seeking advice. He has just learned that his daughter Emily is in love ... Read More
Chapter 55 Sam and his father meet with Mr. Pell, the lawyer from the Insolvent Court whom we encountered in Chapter 43, to wrap up... Read More
Chapter 56 Sam and his father visit Mr. Pickwick. They ask him to handle Mr. Weller's money for him. Mr. Pickwick agrees, then chan... Read More
Chapter 57 In the final chapter, Mr. Pickwick dissolves the Pickwick Club and settles down in a new house near London. Mr. Snodgras... Read More
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