Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bleak House, Chapters 26-32

This is the halfway point for our Bleak House readalong hosted by Amanda at The Zen Leaf.

Overall: While there is a lot of plot, much of it confused me (mostly their motives for their actions).  I also think many bloggers will be sad because there isn't much Esther and her chapters seem preferred to the third person narrator.  I like both narrators just fine.

Chapter 26: This opens at Mr George's shooting gallery with his faithful servant Phil Squod.  Grandfather and Judy Smallweed come to visit for nefarious purposes (I think).  He suggests that Captain Hawdon is not dead and desires a sample of his handwriting (which would prove?)

Chapter 27: This group goes to Mr Tulkinghorn.  It turns out that Mr George served under Hawdon and refuses to help.  He leaves and goes to Mrs. Bagnet whose husband also served (it's kind of weird how so many men depend on their wives in such obvious ways when Dickens also seems to not like that dynamic)  George then returns to Mr Tulkinghorn's rooms, basically to reiterate that he won't tell anything. I'm not sure why.

Chapter 28: We are at Chesney Wold with the Dedlocks.  It turns out that Mrs Rouncewell's grandson is in love with Lady Dedlock's maid Rosa.  Mr Rouncewell comes to speak on his son's behalf (he is apparently an upstart to Sir Leicester and is compared to John Thornton in the notes of my edition which may have sent me off to a lovely daydream about Richard Armitage...ahem where was I?)  Lady Dedlock asks Rosa if she is in love and then elicits a promise from her to remain with them.

Chapter 29: Now Mr Guppy comes to call and reveals that Esther's real last name is Hawdon which results in Lady Dedlock's bawling and uttering references to her child.  So Esther is Lady Dedlock's daughter. That's interesting.

Chapter 30: Mrs Woodcourt comes to stay at Bleak House and makes Esther her confidante.  It is also almost Caddy Jellyby's wedding day so Esther is going to help out.  I was really annoyed with Mr Jellyby's patheticness in this section; if Mrs Jellyby is so odious, why did he marry her?  Is this somewhat like Mr Bennet and Mrs Bennet?  I especially liked a note in my (Barnes and Noble) edition where John Stuart Mill called out Dickens and his vulgar put downs of women's rights.  Because it's soooo crazy to think that women are equal to men, right? Grr Dickens.  Anyway Caddy gets married-blah blah blah.

Chapter 31: We meet (again?) Jenny and Liz who have a sick Jo with them.  Esther brings Jo back to the house where Mr Skimpole is *surprise* a jerk!  Then Charley gets sick and Esther nurses her while also making sure that her "angel" (puke) doesn't catch sick too.  Then as Charley recovers, Esther is found to be sick and goes blind (not sure if it's permanent or not) which really sucks for her.

Chapter 32: There is a lot of description in this chapter which made it confusing.  But it seems like Mr Weevle (aka Jobling) and Mr Guppy are preparing to receive papers written by Hawdon from Krook. Except, it's the part I've been anxiously anticipating, Krook spontaneously combusts.  And that is how that serial ends.  With a freaking spontaneous combustion! Crazy!


  1. I know, a spontaneous combustion! At that point, I was both laughing and shaking my head in disbelief, lol.
    Anyway, I'm glad you've come to the part in which it is revealed who Esther's parents are. I really liked that plot twist, personally.
    Happy further reading of Bleak House!

    P.S. Grr Dickens - amen to that. He can be a, overwhelming?;)

  2. I can't believe it was revealed only halfway through; what other secrets are hidden, I wonder?

  3. It's probably good that my book didn't have any notes on Mr. Thornton because I would still be day dreaming. I am liking this book more than before. I was really annoyed with Mr. Jellyby too. Part of me felt sorry for him, the other part wanted to smack him. I am happy for Caddy even though she has Mr. Turveydrop for an in-law.


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