Bleak House by Charles Dickens: Chapter 6 Quite at Home

Analysis of Chapter 6 Quite at Home

Bleak House finally! Here brings out two impressive characters: Mr. Jarndyce who I like a lot; and Mr. Skimpole that I detest much.

Mr. Jarndyce and the East Wind:

Every time Mr. J comes across something that are unfavorable or disappointing, he will brings up the subject of wind, blaming the poor East wind for the bad luck. I have done some research and obviously East wind is generally bad, accompanied with rains and coldness.

But there are deeper meaning in Bleak House. The East wind is a blurry substitution of evils that Mr. J reluctant to admit. We shouldn’t forget the 1st paragraph of Chapter 2–Mr. J is a “sleeping Beauty ” or “Rip Van Winkles” that refuses to face the reality, the reality that consist of good and evil. His attitude to Mrs. Jellyby and Mr. Skimpole reflects the same tendency of avoiding direct criticism and conflicts. Mr. J is a good person but he might need a bit more bravery to face the truth of human nature?

Though Mr. J never admits his discomfort, Esther understands the deeper meaning of East wind–“this caprice about the wind was a fiction;and that he used the pretence to account for any disappointment he could not conceal, rather than he would blame the real cause of it.” There is unspoken mutual understanding between Esther and Mr. J; though Esther sees through Mr.J’s psychological weakness, she never force him to face the reality as this may destroy his inner peace.Esther wants him to be happy.

Besides that, we can see Dickens’ talent in story telling from building characters like Mr. J. The harder the characters try to hide something from us, the eager we want to know the truth. This is the beauty of mystery–the readers were driven by unbearable curiosity and will never give up the story until we figure out the truth.

Mr. Skimpole and his naivety:

Look at some of his speech–

“Possession is nothing to me.”

“I am a child, you know! You are designing people compared with me.”

“You know the world…and I know nothing of it…the base word of money should never be breathed near it!”

“You see me utterly incapable of helping myself, and entirely in your hands! I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free. Mankind will surely not deny to Harold Skimpole what it concedes to the butterflies!”

I wonder how those good people can stand this kind of vague talks. His name “Skimpole” sounds like “Simple”. But instead of simple, this man is as skim as a pole, as mean as a dry thin pole, not an ounce of goodness and usefulness in him. He is a pest, who lives happily by sucking other people’s blood. Worse thing is, he is not an innocent pest, he is a calculated, two-faced, evil spirited pest. He talks about freedom, poem and beauty but these are merely excuse for his laziness; he laughs at other people’s diligence and hard work without learning one cents by himself; he is already middle aged but shameless playing innocence by avoiding responsibility; he never feel gratitude of other people’s kindness because he is using them to achieve his greedy demand. Shame, shame!

From my experience, it is better to judge a person from what he does than what he say. Mr. Skimpole represents those people who would do everything to justify their ugly intention. That’s why Mr. Skimpole looks so real to us.


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