Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #10


Quite a lot happens in these three chapters.

It is revealed in chapter 30 just how much Esther has been missing out in her narrative. It seems that Mr Woodcourt (a young London Doctor) was calling at Mr Jarndyce’s house more than we were led to believe  - although this does help to make more sense of his parting words.

Mrs Woodcourt (his mother – not his wife, that would just add a whole new level of unnecessary drama to the mix if that was the case)) spends three weeks visiting Bleak House and seems to spend most of her time going on (and on…and on) about her ancestors and her sons blood lines (seriously it is like the poor guy is a horse) and all but sets up a neon sign announcing Esther’s unsuitability for her son. Mrs Woodcourt is sure to cover all of her bases by painting her son as a fickle flirt since he reached eighteen… You know, just in case he was at all attentive to Esther. Yes, she has a snobbish streak the size of the Thames this woman.

There was one little bit that might seem random, but I really liked it when Esther referred to Bleak House as ‘our house’. That just gave me a warm fuzzy feeling for some reason. Like Esther feels like she finally belongs somewhere.

Caddy gets married, Esther meets Jo and she and Charley fall ill.

And then there is Mr Omniscient who picks up with Mr Guppy and his pal who are trying to get their hands on some letters currently in the possession of Mr Krook.

Two word –


That’s right. Mr Dickens had Mr Krook blow up. Poof.

Now, you have to admit, THAT is random.

The built up to the discovery is a bit squirm inducing in retrospect. There is a heavy soot in the air and falling onto people clothes and a ‘stagnant sickening oil’ covering the windowsill and then My Guppy’s fingers when he taps the sill.

Yip, it is raining Mr Crook. If that isn’t a bit disturbing I don’t know what is…

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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #9


OK. So. Big reveal in this segment. All suspicions/guess work/stabs in the dark about a certain heroine’s parentage have all been proved true or false by the end of this week’s reading.

This had me a bit tight chested (nothing at all to do with the chest infection I have working on me as I write this I assure you :)). The sheer isolation and grief experienced while not gone into with a great deal of detail was just so sad.

“Words, sobs and cries, are but air; and air is so shut in and shut out throughout the house in town, that sound needs to be uttered trumpet-tongued indeed by my Lady on her chamber, to carry any faint vibration to Sir Leicester’s ears, and yet this cry is in the house, going upward from a wild figure on its knees.
‘O my child, my child! Not dead in the first hours of her life as my cruel sister told me; but sternly nurtured by her after she had renounced me and my name! O my child, O my child!’”

In other points, My Tulkinghorn continues his investigation about the mysterious (not so anymore to us) handwriting. The guy is in serious need of a hobby. Or a girlfriend. I am sure that there is some lonely buxom landlady somewhere who is just waiting for her very own Mr T…sorry. Moving on.
So yeah, he is still on the scent of the mystery and draws poor Mr George in to things too.

Mrs Rouncewell’s son pays a visit to the Deadlock too. And yes, that goes as well as could be expected.

See you next week when we’ll be onto the 30s. 

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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #8


Nutty French maid makes an appearance in this section, showing up out of the blue and offering herself as Esther’s ‘domestic’. Needless to say, Esther sends her off as nicely as possible.

Everyone seems intent on throwing themselves at Esther and kissing her hands for one reason or another. It is like they set her up on a pedestal and see her as much higher than themselves within minutes of meeting her. I find it a little sad that the characters who hold her in high regard and love her are the ones who don’t know or don’t care about her past. The ones who do know all treat her badly, or less than them – mainly her aunt and the maid who worked for her aunt – and are the ones who in their own piety can’t see past her birth to the person that she is... All they are doing is showing up themselves and not Esther.

Oops sorry, this went on a little longer than expected.

Little Charley show up as a present for Esther from Mr Jarndyce. I really like Charley the more I see of her. She is such a strong, brave little girl and she is glowing with happiness now that she has a position and her siblings are being taken care of.

Mr Dickens waves his magic wand and brings more characters together by having Mr George involved in training Richard (don’t get me started on him!). And then Mr George recognizes something about our Esther and spends the whole visit stealing glances at her…

I wonder why that is? ;)

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #7

This section has some of the funniest, laugh out loud moments of the novel so far I think.

In chapter 21 the Smallweed family are introduced (and we meet little Charley – the debt collectors daughter – again too) and despite them having a bit of a dark nastiness to them I think Grandfather Smallweed is going to provide some laughs if he shows up again.

I suppose I shouldn’t be laughing as he is technically abusing his wife verbally (even if she is so far gone mentally that the only thing that seems to register with her are numbers because they could apply to money) and is always throwing cushions at her. Dickens presents this scene in such a way that it really is a comic moment.

‘Grandfather Smallweed immediately throws the cushion at her. ‘Drat you, be quiet!’ says the good old man.
The effect of this act of ejaculation is twofold. It not only doubles up Mrs Smallweed’s head against the side of her porter’s chair, and causes her to present, when extracted by her granddaughter, a highly unbecoming state of cap, but the necessary exertion recoils on Mr Smallweed himself, whom it throws back into his porter’s chair, like a broken puppet.’

This chapter is full of him randomly shooting the pillow at his wife like this and ending up worse than she.

Among the handful of new characters introduced in this chapter (you know, because there aren’t enough of them already) is Mr George. I like Mr George. He is a right gent, even if he is a little rough around the edges.

‘”Don’t scold the old lady so. Look at her here, with her poor cap half off her head, and her poor hair all in a muddle. Hold up, ma’am. That’s better. There we are!...”’

See, he sets poor Grandmother Smallweed’s cap to rights. That right there put him on my favourite characters list.

Chapters 23 to 25 next week, see you them. 

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