Bleak House Day 5 – Character Sketches

(Note – I read the book “blind”, that is with no idea what it contained.  I wrote the essays immediately after reading, so they are first impressions.)

I have given a few character sketches as part of my posts over the last few days, so I want to do a few “stand alone” sketches, starting with Mr. Jarndyce (John Jarndyce).

Mr. Jarndyce was one of the main characters, in the top three or four (Esther and Lady Dedlock being the only two I’d put before him, though he might have a lot more “screen time” than “my Lady”), but who was he?

He was obviously rich.  Bleak House wasn’t a giant manor like Chesney Wold, but it was multi-storied and rambling, so not small.  It had full-time live-in servants, even when Mr. Jarndyce and his wards weren’t there, possibly quite a few.  A half a dozen?  A dozen?  Two dozen?  More?  They are rarely talked about, but I would guess a minimum of half a dozen, though it could approach that biggest number.  He didn’t seem to work and was able to afford to rent a large house in London for months at a time.  He was very free and giving with his money, almost as if there was an endless supply.

Although he was not in the same class as the Lord and Lady Dedlock, Sir Leicester paid a visit to Bleak House to apologize for not being more welcoming when Mr. Jarndyce and his wards were close to Chesney Wold.  I doubt Sir Leicester did that to everybody in England.  Just saying…

Mr. Jarndyce was a generous, giving man that had a lot of compassion for those around him.  He helped many people and gave freely, too freely in Mr. Skimpole’s case.  He sponsored several people, obviously Esther, but including others, such as the “Coavinses” children, whom he took under his wing after discovering they were alone on the death of their father.

And he was a bit of an odd duck. 

Although he was very friendly, he was obviously an introvert.  He had a habit of disappearing, sometimes for weeks or months, when he felt uncomfortable, even for something as small as a 14-year-old girl not accepting a gift of a sweet, though his running away did not occur after he brought in his wards, so he did understand his responsibilities.  And perhaps his wards helped him to grow… 

He demanded that nobody ever thank him, and there was the idea that he might disappear if someone dared to say “Thank you.”

He could be moody and liked to be alone.  He had a room, the Growlary, where he would go to be alone to think and just “enjoy” his bad moods.  He would sometimes become very pessimistic – an East Wind was blowing…  (The photo at the top, the cover of the book I read, is just showing that East Wind.  Although not talked about as much later, the idea was always there.)

He was described as very neurotic when first introduced, but seemed to be more and more settled as the book progressed, though some of the idiosyncrasies still occasionally showed up.

He was a caring and even a loving man, and had a streak of the Romantic, but he was not romantic (creating the second Bleak House was the closest he came to being Romantic), which, to me, plays a major role at one point in the book.  He could write a letter filled with love, but never a love letter.  I’d say, if he were a real man, he was most likely gay, but in an era where he would have to be closeted even to himself.  “Life long confirmed bachelor” is what they used to call that type.

The Lady Dedlock has to be brought up.

Paraphrasing the second chapter of the book, I had earlier described her this way:

In chapter two, we go out on that same bleak day that opens the book but move to a far, far more fashionable part of Town where Dickens introduces us to Lady Deadlock, a woman who couldn’t move a finger without the action being reported by the fashion journalists in the leading three papers.  The fashion world knew she had bored of Lincolnshire and was spending a few days in Town before crossing to Paris for a short visit.  After Paris?  Not even the leading fashion experts could guess.

Married to the baronet Sir Leicester, Lady Deadlock had climbed to the pinnacle of British society, was part of the highest elite. This was the top of the ladder and the idea in fashion circles was that she had grown bored that she had nowhere to go from that lofty perch.

At 50, the Lady Deadlock was in the prime of her life.  She was strikingly beautiful and held herself in a way to make her seem taller than she actually was; stand out.  She embodied the best characteristics of the females of her class and knew it.  She was cold and haughty, her beauty seen as a marble on Mt. Olympus, not a mere mortal. 

And she was as inscrutable as that marble Hera.

In many ways my Lady is the main character of the book.  In my opinion, the story of the lawsuit is the glue that holds the book, and the characters, together, but the main story is Lady Dedlock’s story.  She appears in name or person in so many chapters from the second chapter (about her – see above) to the second to last chapter (she is talked about), perhaps more than any other person in the book.  Well, other than Esther.  Her story is the heart and soul of the book.  I stated earlier that perhaps the biggest theme is motherhood, and it centers on her.

And yet she is always just sketched, never drawn with detail.  We are often close to her, but always seen as if from someone else’s eyes.  We enter the heads of others, read their minds, but her mind is forbidden to us, her thoughts betrayed only by a flash of the eyes or sighs, and those are often few and far between.  Most of the time she presents us that false front she always shows the world.  It is like there is a mist or a vail between us.  She is almost already a memory even when she is still alive.

As stated earlier, my Lady Dedlock is beautiful, haughty, noble, above those around her and bored with everything.  But then we discover that she is this way to hide her real self.  That real self is only revealed in those quick flashes, her secret actions and the few pages she shares with Esther at the center, heart, of the book, where she allows her true inner self to come out for a moment.

And perhaps, just perhaps, even in the third person narrative, we only truly see her the way she is seen by Esther, through the rose-colored mist of Esther’s memory, a memory of beauty and love, her childhood dream made real.

We left Sir Leicester riding around the park, leaning on Mr. George for support.  In my mind, we leave Lady Dedlock as a memory in a lonely mausoleum.  I think of the island that holds Princess Diana and hold a similar picture of my Lady, a soft vision of beauty as if from a different age, always there, just beyond our reach.

Richard Carstone is one of the central characters around Esther.  I don’t want to go into many details about him, but he deserves mention.

Near the beginning of the book, he does a giving, selfless act.  All should be good.  Even that Mr. Jarndyce pays him back shouldn’t discredit his initial actions.

And yet, in ways this is the start of the downfall of his character.

His sense of giving actually grows after he is paid back.  That is, the idea that he was willing to make a sacrifice, but never did, taints the way he relates to the world and to money.  His accounting gets off whack.  His sense of “luck” grows.  He quickly grows careless with his money.

And then there is a distinct lack of “seriousness” and responsibility.  He becomes foolish with his funds, goes into debt, doesn’t worry about the future – he has always been cared for, and doesn’t believe there will come a time when he isn’t cared for.  He can’t stay on task when trying to find a vocation.

In ways he is almost a Mr. Skimpole light.

And then he discovers the case, Jarndyce and Jarndyce. Yes, of course he knew about it his entire life.  But when he found out about it for real, it changed him for the worse.

Dickens has two other characters talk about their cases before the Chancery.  We discover how these very, very simple cases have gone on forever and have ruined lives.  Richard hears these cases, but can’t see how they relate to him, nor the very complex Jarndyce and Jarndyce case, which he thinks is on the verge of being settled.

It is very sad, and Dickens does as much as he can to make it sad.  And yet, he also gives Richard those “spoiled brat” characteristics from the beginning, so it is hard to not feel he is at least partially to blame.  We feel a lot of sympathy, but much more for the people around him that are hurt by his actions than for Richard himself.

I am going to skip all of those other characters.  Ada is simultaneously interesting and boring.  The light of Esther’s (and Richard’s) life, being such a huge part of the action, she should be at the top of the character sketches, and yet…. 

Oh, I do need to mention Ada’s “opposite”, Caddy Jellyby.  Her mother, of course, typifies philanthropy gone wrong.  And the Jellyby family was half horrifying and half humorous.  But Miss Jellyby herself?  Perhaps most importantly she is Esther’s only friend who is not related to the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case or a friend of one of the principles first, though, actually, maybe the same could be said Allan Woodcourt.  And those two friends of Esther, though not really knowing each other, are bound together throughout in many ways, including a bouquet of flowers.

Esther is Caddy’s best friend, and perhaps only friend.  Miss Jellyby grew to rely on Esther, and Esther became a bit of a surrogate mother (theme of motherhood in proxy).

Miss Jellyby is in the odd world where she is not part of the poorest of the poor, she associates a little with the rich, but isn’t really part of that upper class either. She’s between classes.  In some ways, this is a trait that Esther has as well – Esther has nothing, not even a real name, and yet she associates with the rich. 

In many ways Miss Jellyby is a person to pity, and it is almost as an afterthought that Dickens mentions that her kind of odd, sickly child is deaf and dumb.  More pity?  An odd thing for him to strike down this child in such a casual way.

But what is she in the book?  A reminder of what Esther might have been without Mr. J.? Something to show Esther’s motherly side?  I’m still not sure.

I did talk about Mr. Bucket and Mr. George a little.  The other very big character is Mr. Tulkinghorn.  I could write several posts about him.  But I won’t.  I’ll leave that for someone else.

And there are so many other interesting people that I could talk about!  But I won’t bring up any of the major characters, like Allan Woodcourt.

Which should bring us to the end of these little sketches.

I do, however, want to bring up one other character, Jenny, the poor bricklayer’s wife.

She, and her family, play several roles in the novel, like the recipients of misguided “charity” and the often brutish nature of the poor.  The role I want to bring up is that of the mother who loses a baby.  She loses her baby “on screen”, so in ways her grief is there to represent all mothers who lose their infant.  And she does grieve through the entire book, stuck in the amber of that the time of that death, never moving on.  How much time passes in the course of the book?  And yet Dickens stuck poor Jenny as always just a very short time away from having just lost her child. 

Isn’t it interesting that Esther’s handkerchief, left with that dead infant, is taken by one who had thought she had lost a baby and was afraid that she might lose that “baby” a second time during the time Esther was at death’s door?  And then think about the ”changing places” Jenny performs at the end.  Isn’t it very appropriate that it is Jenny, not Liz, the other bricklayer’s wife, that does that little trick?  Because in ways, so different, the two women who did the switch-a-roo, from vastly different social and economic classes, are one and the same, aren’t they?

Clever as the Dickens is our Charles!


Bleak House Main Challenge Post


31 thoughts on “Bleak House Day 5 – Character Sketches

  1. Pingback: What the Dickens? (2023 #DickensChallenge: Read Three Novellas by June 9th) – priorhouse blog

  2. Marsha

    First off, I don’t think Mr. J was gay. I think he was genuinely attracted to Esther and Ada, but was not a pervert. I think he just had a low sex drive, and he was older. He probably had high blood pressure and maybe some other ailments of aging, but nothing that kept him from leading an active life. I do think he was an introvert and without Esther and Ada did not get out in the world to see it as it was outside his social circle. I thought for a second that he might develop a relationship with Allen’s mother, but he had other schemes going on there. I think he was just not super complicated or devious and had no ulterior motives. I don’t think the lawsuit affected him too much even though he didn’t get any money, it seems he didn’t lose any either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      You could be right about Mr. J. But then, he showed so much more romance in the way he gave Esther to Alan than he ever showed Esther herself. Of course Dickens never showed Mr. J attracted to any males or anything else like that either, so there was nothing beyond that odd lack of romance and such to suggest it. Except, I have read in a few places that the term “committed life long bachelor” was given as a code for “gay”, at least in the 1940s and 50s if not the 1840s and 50s. But then (again) Dickens most likely never thought of it one way or the other, he just wrote a character to do what he wanted, it is just my “modern” take on it that puts any type of sexuality on him at all, though perhaps “asexual” may be a better fit.
      I think Mr. J’s fortune wasn’t part of the suit, so even though he didn’t gain anything, he didn’t lose poor Ada and Richard had little beyond the hope for the suit, so when he put them so far in dept, getting nothing from the suit totally wiped them out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marsha

        Did Mr. J put them into debt or did other attorneys do it? I thought Mr. J never went to court. And what of poor Tom who killed himself over the whole confusing suit? Why would he do that?


        1. trentpmcd Post author

          Hmmm, I reread my comment and am not sure why you thought I said Mr. J. had any negative impact on anyone regarding the suit. Richard put himself in dept and Mr. J. tried to stop him from doing it. But Richard looked at it as “Mr. J is on the opposite side of the suit, so I can’t listen to him.” Of course if he did listen, and didn’t rack up the debts, it might have been a happier ending. But, for the most part, I see it as a character flaw of Richard, and Mr. J tried to help.
          I don’t have access to the book, so can’t look things up. I know that there was a relative that committed suicide over the case, and several others that died as they waited, but there were also a couple of unrelated suits that were given that destroyed lives as well.
          SO Mr. J was wealthy, but his money was his money and not part of the suit, so even though he didn’t win anything (was no better off t the end), he didn’t really lose anything either.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Marsha

            I don’t think I said Mr. J. had a negative impact on anyone. The law suit did, and it had his last name on it and the lawsuit negatively affected the people that got embroiled in it waiting to get money, that’s for sure. But Mr. J. seemed to steer pretty clear of it. It was such a confusing part of the plot, really. J v J? Why would all these different people even be part of it unless their last name was J? The whole thing seemed to be a play on if a person goes to court, don’t count on any money because the lawyers get it all. Some things never change! :)

            Liked by 1 person

            1. trentpmcd Post author

              So you confused me and I turned around and confused you and… I think we have been on the same page about Mr. J wanting to help.
              The idea is that somebody at some times died and left more than one will. This person was very rich and had a lot of relatives. The two principles in the case, the two J’s,both passed away. Our Mr. J inherited one of their fortunes, and Bleak House, named by the first Mr. J who, I think, ended up killing himself. Ada and Richard are Mr. J’s distant cousins, and themselves cousins, so at some place there were at least two female J’s that married and had other names. At one point, someone listed every name that was in the case, and it included Lady D., even though that didn’t really forward the plot. It was mentioned twice – in the second chapter and later when all of the people involved were named.
              The two others that hung out at the court, Miss Flite and the person who died in George’s place of business (I don’t have access tot he book), had their own cases that they were waiting for and weren’t part of J and J, but of course they knew all about it.
              Dickens had a simple case that took years. He won, but the entire “fortune” was eaten by court costs, so he didn’t get any money. It was his own case that made him write the J and J case into the book.
              And, yes, today the lawyers often seem to be the only winners…
              (oh – in Esther’s first chapter, which was at least 15 years before she went to live at BH, ti was said that the case had already cost more than 70,000 pounds. That would have been many, many millions in today’s money, and the case still had a couple of decades to run!)

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Marsha

                Wow, well I won’t muddy the water any more. Jo was the person who died at George’s business. Thank you so much for the challenge and all that you and Yvette brought to the table!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. trentpmcd Post author

                  No, not Jo – one of the first times we meet Mr. Bucket was at George’s place when he came in to arrest a refuge from the law George had taken in. The guy sat at court every day and tried to get the lead Judge’s attention, and some times had outbreaks of violence. Bucket came to arrest him, but he was dying. They all tried to cheer him up, but to no avail – the court case had killed him…

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Marsha

                    I don’t even remember that character. Wow! There were so many at the beginning that it was overwhelming because you had no mental peg to hang them on.


                    1. trentpmcd Post author

                      I just went to Wikipedia and he is under “minor characters” – Mr Gridley. He was on a real life person and case. I think I used the term “telephone book worth of characters” in one of my posts – yes, so many people and moving parts!

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  3. Pingback: Monday Morning Blooms & Bleak House Challenge A to Z Takeaways📚☀️😊 – priorhouse blog

  4. Prior...

    Oh I am so glad you mentioned the handkerchief at the end of this post because as soon as you mentioned Jenny that was where my mind went!

    And glad you pointed out how lady d went (and paid money for it) when Esther was on death’s door. I missed that interplay and now I see how awesome it was.

    Nice character sketches here and sadly, my MIL is a bit like lady dedlock – where their walls are so strong and so high they just can’t let their guard down- yet we know a beautiful person is in there if they could just drop the fake and relax and let genuine unfold!
    And so when lady d and Esther do connect /// it is powerful – as you noted -☀️☀️☀️
    I am briefly exploring Tulkinghorn in my takeaways – but not too much and so perhaps someone else will cover him!
    The biggest thing about Mr T is that he “reaped what he sowed” or karma got him!
    – you can’t go back on your word and be so cold to people (ie George and Hortense) and think nobody will retaliate – what goes around comes around and that is what dickens showed with Mr T-/

    I like how Ada fell a little
    Short for you- and for me too!

    your expounding about Richard had me thinking!
    I am still not sure he is in the category of Skimpole – but close!

    Richard reminded me of something we have learned in parenting research
    One theory suggests that parenting (or many leader roles) have three types – authoritarian, democratic, and permissive.
    The authoritarian is rigid and often militant and tough! It can lead to children who
    Grow up and have successful careers – but also have wounds and deep inner hurts from such a militant parenting approach –
    The democratic approach is one that balances the situation (sometimes called the situational approach to leadership) and so there will be times when a authoritarian, rigid and hard ass approach is needed and other times when permissive, grace or softness is needed – this democratic approach can be empowering and is ideal if done well.
    The permissive approach is a very hands/off approach. This approach has the mindset that assumes a child “will bloom like a flower on their own”
    So much research debunks this myth and many argue that permissive parenting is what ruins a child ! Sadly, in the Christian community – which is all over the place and I don’t identify with most Christians – sigh –
    But In the Christian community we see this egregious misunderstanding of an OT Bible verse that says “spare the rod spoil The child”
    They take this to mean physical
    Spanking (rod = hit) when it really means direction (rod or staff of a shepherd as a guiding tool)
    It means “spare the proper direction and training and you will ruin the child” –
    And so in the Christian community we see a lot of wounded children and adults from the authoritarian approach that smothered and deeply hurt their soul!
    Now getting back to the permissive (passive) parenting – some Research shows two huge things that happens to “some” of the children in adulthood (from this passive parenting)
    Some flounder with their career and have issues with “attachment” (connecting and anchoring with another)
    I see this in RICHARD!
    I see Richard as a product of his upbringing and all that you mentioned (being catered to and having it too easy)
    And when he flounders and changes careers and can’t seriously take Mr J’s advice – and can’t move into his role as Ada’s partner (because he is out busy busy with this and that) –
    I think that is from his childhood and how it interacted with his innate wiring (and because Dickens often used real people for his character development – I bet he knew a few folks who floundered and couldn’t attach).
    Tragically- Richard then got into the vortex of the J & j case and had the physical ailments from it!
    And you have covered the courts before – but I believe the ongoing frustration and delays in litigation can truly drive someone crazy!
    And can’t believe you didn’t mention mrs flite and her birds? That made my list -/
    dickens was gracious to the character of Richard to allow his wife to bear a healthy child – and so a part of Richard lives on and goes forth!
    So this is a book of motherhood but also a book about so many types of men!
    was Mr Jarndyce Homosexual? I didn’t sense that – maybe bi –
    And I wondered if Skimpole was gay.

    With Mr J…. I do believe that he was attracted to Esther in a romantic way – for her looks and her gentleness –
    (Felt her to be a safe place) and maybe he also just really enjoyed her sweet side!
    I have more to say on Esther – because at times she fell short for me with depth – but if I ever read this book again 📖I will check for this topic in Mr J a bit more.
    Not all bachelor’s are gay and many men “get” married to have that cover and then find pleasure in the secret – maybe less so nowadays because our culture accepts the gay and trans community (most do accept and love all – Even if they have their religious views – they still love all)
    And so I guess I see Mr J’s genuine pull towards Esther as signs he is not gay
    and maybe he never married because he just never found mrs right in real life – because some folks never get married for that simple reason 💛 they never had a green light!
    And perhaps once you had that filter on (like the skin pole) it reinforced the idea as you read?
    But I am curious to see how things would unfold my next time around (which will years from now when I have a few weeks off to turn pages until
    5 am)💛📚📚📚💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Hi Yvette. Another great response.
      Richard – you are right, when I said “Skimpole light”, that was more a frustration of how far he had sunk than an actual comparison. Richard understood money and such, so he was different there. As to how he was raised, I agree. I used the term “spoiled”, which is about as non-technical as you can get and has a huge amount of emotional content, but I was going for that idea of an overly permissive upbringing with a lot of entitlement thrown in.
      I mentioned Miss Flight obliquely, but not by name. Yes, the flighty Miss Flite and her birds – I’m glad you are bringing them up.
      As to Mr. J being gay, there is nothing that really jumps out and says it, and I never really thought about it until I was summing up the book. You are right, gay people get married (and back then when it was illegal, yes) and straight people do and did stay life long bachelors for a variety of reasons, but there is a reason for that cliche. Mr. J. was very introverted and shy. It is possible his idiosyncrasies are the reason he never married. However…
      I think he loved Esther very much, but it wasn’t a romantic type of love, it was almost paternal. He proposed to her not because he was romantically in love or attracted, but because he thought it would be the best thing for both of them – she went out of her way to say that the note was filled with love, but not a love letter, and was filled with practical reasons. It was almost a protective reflex on his side to propose – bring her even more under his wing now that he knew the dangers of her being exposed. That is why it was so easy for him to understand that Alan was a much better match for Esther and why he not only let her go, but plotted for months to find a way to let her go easily. He loved her like a daughter, and was happy to find a suitable husband.
      I said I came to the conclusion after I finished reading, but I did note all that I said in that last paragraph as I read. I also noted that their relationship changed after the proposal, but it was mostly in where she sat and how she called him. He had always conferred with her in private, and that didn’t change. In fact, I think there was nobody ever as close to him as Esther, which made the proposal easier.
      Also, if he was gay, he most likely was closeted to himself. He wasn’t physically attracted to woman and dismissed those times when he found himself attracted to men. He would not have been a person like Oscar Wilde, that’s for sure! In fact, about as far away from that as possible.
      But… shrug. Can say.
      I said I never really thought Mr. J was gay (or straight) as I read, but I did question Mr. George a few times. Mr. J socialized with men and women, Mr. G almost exclusively with men. There was mention of a romantic interest in his past, but it could be that it was just something he used to keep people off track. But there was really nothing else to suggest he was gay or straight or anything.
      My guess is that Mr. Dickens never really thought of it. In his day homosexuality was considered a depravity, a personality disorder, not something that some people were born as. There were people back then with an attitude that was closer to our modern thoughts, but most of them weren’t straight… I did read a very interesting book on Oscar Wilde a few years ago and found that homosexuality was far more accepted in Victorian England than most people realized, as long as you weren’t like Oscar and flaunt it (his big problem was that he had a very public affair with an under aged nobleman’s son). It was something people did not talk about in public. So I think there is a possibility that either Mr. Dickens would write a gay character without spelling it out, or, more likely, had used a gay model for a character without realizing that the man was gay because they didn’t exist in his mind.
      Anyway sorry you MIL has those barriers around her like that. With those few peeks we got to see of the real Lady D., I really liked her a lot, in some ways more than any other female character. Was it because she was so human behind that barrier? I don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Prior...

        Be back to reply to this soon-
        Oh and my Final post is up – no hurry to read it – but I am pleased with how it came out!
        And I am almost burned out with this book – not quite yet but think that after the raffle I might need to not think of it for a while
        Even tho the characters and story lines are with me in the sweetest way!
        So glad we went with this very important work from CD!

        Have a great day Trent

        Liked by 1 person

        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I did a quick review of your A-Z right after you put it up, but will take a little more time later. Looks good! I watched the short video lip, which was good, but not the long book review.
          I will admit that I am pretty burned out as well. Although I am super happy I did a lot early, I didn’t realize how much this had been in the back of my mind all of that time! A huge sigh of relief and ready to move on – after the last posts ;)
          (My weekly smile was finishing this)

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Prior...

            The book review was only a few minutes (I hope that was the schmoop one I added – no long vids for that post)
            And thanks for taking a quick look- I am actually glad you will be back because I tweaked sections and got rid of most typos!
            And right now I feel that sweet savoring feeling
            So seriously not ready to move on.
            Just letting the story details resonate
            And not just saying this – but essay five (and four) I am going to read again – –

            And in my A to Z post – well a small part of me feels like I should have added this or that / but with a book this size – well Trent – we have to bind things – have to have a boundary in place – like your clever five essays and 26 takeaways can be quite enough!

            But not sure if you saw that Vladimir Nabokov really liked the novel as did Chesterton and many other great authors.
            When I saw some tidbits about Nabokov and his appreciation for this book – I wondered – only a little – if Mr J and the young Esther inspired parts of Lolita – or others dickens books might have – like the one that Kate mentioned in her post – hmmm

            I also didn’t mention that tulkinghorn was the opposite of Jean Val Jean in Hugo’s Les Mis!
            Oh so many things to chew on this week
            So I am not overflowing the cup but it is getting to the rim and with a good vibe in the way that classic literature can funnel in…

            Liked by 1 person

            1. trentpmcd Post author

              I just watched the Schmoop video – yeah, short and sweet with little real content, but still nice.
              I will try to get to a better reading of the post later tonight, but it might be in the morning.
              Yes, 26 take aways was enough – though there are so many points that I would be curious to hear your opinion about.
              I think Esther was in her early 20s so not quite Lolita – I call it a little creepy because to me he was a surrogate father, not as much the age difference. That being said, if Nabokov liked it so much, perhaps there was a little influence.
              Hmm, if anyone reminded me of Val Jean, it would be Captain Hawden – they both fell off of boats and were presumed dead and yet were really hiding out. I’d have to see how you got Tulkinghorn to be his opposite – not saying he isn’t since Val Jean discovered good in mankind and so was changed while Tulkinghorn sought out the bad.
              Anyway, I have to go prepare dinner. I’ll try to make it back to do a more thorough read of your post later.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Prior...

                I was thinking the Lolita only in the general sense but also maybe Mr J did have this in mind from when she was very young.-
                And Trent!
                Yes! Hawden and Jean have those shared traits – hmmm
                Fun to compare and see connections.
                Hope dinner was good and as noted / no hurry to come back and read –

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Robbie. I do think he was clever and understood what makes people tick more than any author since Shakespeare. He was also The master manipulator of all fiction (in a good way).


  5. Pingback: Dickens Challenge – Bleak House Recap Post | Trent's World (the Blog)

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I know, it was so sad that too many things slowed them down and they arrived too late for her. And then, her returning to join her first love in death as she wished she could have in life… A very sad end.

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  6. Pingback: Dickens Challenge – Bleak House Intro Post | Trent's World (the Blog)

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