Bleak House by Charles Dickens: Chapter 8 Covering a Multitude of Sins

Analysis of Chapter 8 Covering a Multitude of Sins

“There were two classes of charitable people; one, the people who did a little and made a great deal of noise; the other, the people who did a great deal and made no noise at all.”

Here it brings, Mrs. Pardiggle, who obviously belongs to the former group. “She seemed to come in like cold weather, and to make the little Pardiggles blue as they followed.” This immediately outlines the relationship between the mother and the kids. Mr. P is a tyrant in the family and she gained superiority by manipulate her children and her husband and make a pretense of charity. This kind of wholesale charity obviously benefit no one but the dragon woman herself.

Sometimes I feel sick to see people claim they spread love and faith to fellow human being, save them from ignorance and give them chance to see the beauty of the sole truth. These people, know not a bit of true misery–they live well, bought expensive cosmetic,clothes and commodities, have good education, never need to worry about earning bread to support family. Their knowledge come from the same source, never changed,; they never listen and never use their sympathy to understand others; they satisfy their need of superiority by forcing their knowledge and judgement on others.

Not much to say for this chapter as after reading it, I felt a bit upset. Like Mr. J, I might need to retreat to “the Growlery” to take refuge from the “East Wind”.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens: Chapter 7 The Ghost’s Walk

Analysis of Chapter 7 The Ghost’s Walk

“While Esther sleeps, and while Esther wakes, it is still wet weather down at the place in Lincolnshire. The rain is ever falling, drip, drip,drip, by day and night, upon the broad flagged terrace-pavement.”

The opening of Chapter 7 brings us back to Chesney Wold, the “place in Lincolnshire” of the Deadlocks. Remember in Chapter 2 (P.9), it has mentioned the rain drops on the roof are sounded as “Ghost’s Walk”. This chapter is devote to this ” Ghost’s Walk”–it was expanded into a deeper mystery, a secret, a story within the story, all point to Mrs. Deadlock. I wonder why Dickens suddenly jump from Esther’s narrative to Chesney Wold. My guess is, there is some connection with Esther and Deadlocks and Dickens saw the need to insert this chapter before Esther starts her new life in Bleak House.

There is Mrs Rouncewell, in charge of the house and its secret, her grandson Watts, her maid Rosa, and two visitors. One of the visitor, Mr. Guppy might be an important character judged from his strange reaction of seeing Mrs. Deadlock’s portrait.

Dickens has created a pattern of mentioning Rosa who supposed to be a minor character.

He mentioned–

First, “Rosa is shyer than before.” after she was introduced t0 Watt.

Second, “Rosa is shyer than ever.” after she announced the appearance of two visitors.

Third, “Rosa is shyer than ever.” when she leaded the group to see the rooms.

Forth, “Rosa is shyer than ever.” being asked for the story of Ghost’s Walk.

Fifth, “Half frighten and half shy.” after she and Watt heard the Ghost story.

Not sure why Dickens applied this way of repetition but I find it very cute–it shows the development of affection between young woman and young man. But it might have different meaning which I am not sure at this stage.





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.