Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bleak House, Chapters 14-19

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Sum Up: I'm growing to appreciate Esther's talents as a narrator a lot more.  There are a lot of occurrences in this section although I'm not entirely sure how they will all tie together or if they're important to the main narrative (which seems to me to revolve around Esther rather than the court case).

Chapter 14: So Richard leaves them in London; Ada and Esther meet up again with Miss Jellyby who is determined to separate herself from her mother and the imminent bankruptcy of their household.  She now has a fiance, Prince Turveydrop (what a stupid name) who she met while learning how to dance as well as his father Mr Turveydrop who has Deportment.  We also return to Miss Flite and Krook.

Chapter 15: Ugh-Skimpole rears his ugly head with more debts and money schemes.  I'm afraid I don't remember hearing about the Coavinses before but I was uncomfortable with Dickens's portrayal of the eldest Charley who's taking care of her younger siblings as very womanly and brave of her.  There is also Mr. Gridley who is in a similar position as Mr Jarndyce in regards to the court system.

Chapter 16: Then back to Lady Dedlock who disguises herself and pays Jo, the illiterate boy, to help her go over the circumstances of Nemo's death.

Chapter 17: Mr and Mrs Badger come back! Once I remembered who they were (seriously there are so many characters), I was laughing-I really like them.  They express concerns about Richard pursuing the study of medicine (I don't think he'd be really good at any profession as he seems to lack perseverance and ambition).  Esther is concerned.  Mr Jarndyce is able to reveal a bit more about Esther's life.  And Mr Woodcourt takes his leave (not sure if he will be important later on).

Chapter 18: Richard continues to be stupid with his bizarre theories about spending money.  Ugh-Mr Skimpole is back.  I'm not sure if he's meant to be a comic character (maybe Victorians would have found him funny?  I certainly don't) or what purpose he will fulfill.  Sir Leicester and Lady Dedlock are seen by our main characters with Lady Dedlock making quite an impression on Esther.  There is an odd instance as a French maid walks without shoes through the wet grass-do any other readers know the significance of that?  It just seems weird to me.

Chapter 19: So much description in this chapter (zzz) before a portrait of an Evangelical Mr Chadband who with his wife are visiting the Snagsbys.  Jo is caught with the leftovers of the money received from Lady Dedlock (although of course he doesn't know it's her).  Mr Guppy also returns (seriously he's probably my favorite character at this point; followed by the Badgers)!  And it turns out that Mrs Chadband used to be in charge of Esther, not sure how or why she no longer is.


  1. Hm, things are getting interesting now. Dickens can be very tideous with his lengthy descriptions, but in the end, it will all connect nicely in this novel, you'll see. You'll just have to endure the occasional zzzzz-fest a while longer.;)

  2. Your comment about the Badgers made me laugh because I also had to go back to remember who they were, but I absolutely loved them :). I had to flip around a lot in the beginning to keep all the characters straight.

  3. Excellent summary! I gave up on summary by now, lol! :D

  4. I had the same thoughts on Chadband. I finally feel that I am beginning to understand this story.


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