Bleak House Fridays Week 4

This week, for the Bleak House read-along hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables, I read until Chapter XIX.  This week’s reading was significantly better than last week’s, as I didn’t feel like I was very much in the hate portion of my love-hate relationship with Dickens.  This morning, there are a couple of things about this week’s reading that really caught my attention.

The first and foremost item that comes to mind is Dickens’s description of the suffering of children throughout, not only this week’s reading, but all of Bleak House in general since I began reading this book four weeks ago.  Whether it’s Esther, before Mr. Jarndyce becomes her guardian, Caddy, Jo, or the Neckett children, Charley, Tom and Emma.  Between these descriptions, and obviously the descriptions of what I’ve read in David Copperfield, I can’t help but think that children must’ve suffered a lot in poverty if they weren’t well-cared for, and/or had no parents during Victorian England.  It’s rather depressing to me actually, and I’m sure I’ll feel very similarly when I read Oliver Twist later on down the road.

Speaking of suffering children, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Jo as he was being thoroughly questioned in Chapter XIX about him not moving along and how he received the money, that no child in his position, could possibly have earned legally.  I suppose, if you’re considered rif-raff, you’re going to be looked at more closely than if you come from a family of higher stature.

Another item that really caught my attention in the reading this week was Lady Dedlock’s behavior and actions.  For starters, why is she so interested in the death of a document writer, Nemo?  She went to great pains to disguise herself and conceal her true identity to Jo to have him show her around and where Nemo was interred.  I stored that particular knowledge away for future reference.  It just seemed quite suspicious to me.

The second thing about Lady Dedlock that really caught my attention was her behavior toward Esther.  When she met up with her, and Mr. Jarndyce, she was cordial to everyone BUT Esther.  She also didn’t say good-bye upon her departure from that scene to Esther.  That particular scene got me to thinking.  Is there more to this relationship between Esther and Lady Dedlock?  Is Lady Dedlock feeling some sort of guilt from a past action on her part?  Could Esther be related to Lady Dedlock somehow?  Those are questions I’ll be definitely looking for answer to as I read more in the book.

Finally, I can’t finish this post without mentioning one of my strong dislikes in this book, and that lies with Richard.  He decides that his heart isn’t in medicine and would rather go into law instead.  Now, I understand, I may have been a bit hard on Richard a couple of posts ago, he’s still young, and very impressionable.  However, with that being said, I think he’s looking for a way to bide his time, hoping the Jarndyce v Jarndyce suit will be concluded and he can live without working.  I think he’s looking for an easy way out and a quick way to make a buck, or in this case, a pound.  I just think this uncertainty he seems to have for himself, and the way he keeps bouncing around to avoid failure, may end up catching up with him and he’ll end up a giant failure anyway, all because he’s unwilling to take a chance on himself.  It will definitely be interesting to see how much of this story turns out as I continue with my journey.


About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

2 Responses to “Bleak House Fridays Week 4”

  1. Good on you for tackling Bleak House! I had every intention a few years ago and frankly couldn’t get past the first page. My hand started cramping from the weight of the book. 😉 Thank God I have a Kindle now.

    Found your blog through The Classics Club. Look forward to reading your posts!

    • Hi Melissa! Thanks! Dickens isn’t easy for me to read either! I’m not entirely used to reading such long drawn out prose that Dickens seems to like, and there are definitely portions of the book that I say to myself: “Would you please mind too terribly much if you would get to the point?” 😀

      Thanks for dropping by, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading your posts as well!

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