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Nicholas Nickleby
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Archived - The Dickens Project > "Nicholas Nickleby" by Charles Dickens, Week Nine, Chapters 41-45




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Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments Lynnm wrote: "Zulfiya - hope it gets better for you too.

And also have to add to the others praises in last week's posts about what a great job that you are doing. I enjoy reading your summaries each week. A..."


Nah:-) The pleasure is all mine.


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Lynnm | 2987 comments Mod
Zulfiya - hope it gets better for you too.

And also have to add to the others praises in last week's posts about what a great job that you are doing. I enjoy reading your summaries each week. A great moderator! :-)


message 11: by Hedi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hedi | 801 comments Thanks Zulfiya! I hope it will get better in a few days. Let's see. I hope it will get better for you, too. I will probably read more over the weekend, so it might be a little quiet from my side during the next couple of days.


Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments Lynnm wrote: "@Hedi - oh my goodness, 80 hours is a lot of hours in the office. :-(

Yes, poor Smike. He doesn't seem to catch a break. His entire life so far has been tragic, and now that he finally has a ..."


I am stealing this last quote for my next opening post. It is so painfully exact.

Hedi, I have been complaining and whining about 60 hours this week, but you are truly heroic. I hope you will soon get some well-deserved rest.


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Lynnm | 2987 comments Mod
@Hedi - oh my goodness, 80 hours is a lot of hours in the office. :-(

Yes, poor Smike. He doesn't seem to catch a break. His entire life so far has been tragic, and now that he finally has a nice home, he falls in love.

It reminds me of the line in the film "Love Actually." Liam Neeson's character is worried about his son because he's been quiet and moody, and when his son tells him that he's in love, Neeson's character says he's relieved because he thought it was something worse. And his son replies, "Worse than the total agony of being in love?"


Hedi | 801 comments Lynnm, nice of you that you mentioned the tragedy of Smike again. His history by itself is sad, then he gets abducted again and now he has fallen for Kate. What else must he endure? I must admit I have read one chapter of next week's portion, but i will Not spoil it.

Sorry for not posting that much at the moment, but I am very busy at work these days. I spent almost 80 hours in the office over the last week. :-(


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Lynnm | 2987 comments Mod
As with the rest of the book, I really enjoyed these five chapters. What I love about Dickens is that he moves along at a clip - a lot happens, and he moves from character to character.

Some thoughts:

I must be a bad person because I was glad to see Miss Squeers get put in her place a bit. And love John Browdie; as Zulfiya said, he does have a "noble" heart. But Mrs. Browdie is only a few clicks from being as annoying as Miss Squeers. I don't quite trust her; not sure why. Maybe because she was friends with Miss Squeers.

Frank Cheeryble seems like a nice guy; nice to see a possibility for Kate coming along. But I feel so bad for Smike - he obviously is in love with Kate, and then crying himself to sleep. Poor guy.

Interested to see what the history between Ralph and Mr. Brooker will be. Seems as if they were business associates, but Mr. Brooker just released from jail, sent their by Ralph, is down and out now. Ralph is slowly being revealed as worse and worse as the novel goes on.


Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments Lynnm wrote: "Hedi wrote: "I have not read all of the current chapters yet, but had to share how hilarious and comical I found chapter XLI. As you said, Zulfiya, poor Mrs. Nickleby. I thought it was already funn..."

Rubbing salt into our past wounds? :-)


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Lynnm | 2987 comments Mod
Hedi wrote: "I have not read all of the current chapters yet, but had to share how hilarious and comical I found chapter XLI. As you said, Zulfiya, poor Mrs. Nickleby. I thought it was already funny when she ha..."

This is going to sound strange coming from someone who has called Mrs. Nickleby a twit from day one, but I actually felt sorry for her in this chapter. It was hysterical, but she had built up her hopes so much, created this unreal image, and then totally let down. Ladies, haven't we all been there? ;)


Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments Hedi wrote: "I have not read all of the current chapters yet, but had to share how hilarious and comical I found chapter XLI. As you said, Zulfiya, poor Mrs. Nickleby. I thought it was already funny when she ha..."

I agree - this chapter is an embodiment of everything hilarious and humorous in the book. It has been one of my most favorite chapters so far.


Hedi | 801 comments I have not read all of the current chapters yet, but had to share how hilarious and comical I found chapter XLI. As you said, Zulfiya, poor Mrs. Nickleby. I thought it was already funny when she had to talk to Nicholas seriously about her unknown suitor. But this chapter topped it definitely. Poor Kate! In the course of the last chapters, I have more and more the feeling that not only we as readers are irritated about this caricature of a 19th century widow, but also her children. When Nicholas picked up Smike at Noggs's to live with them in their new abode he was not so sure what she would think about it. Then we had all the scenes about Kate's potential future, which I think embarrassed Kate a little, too, and now this.
I am looking forward to the other chapters of this week. :-)


Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments Wow, what a section it has been. Dickens is a true master of plots. The plot of this novel twists and turns and twists again. We have already read the biggest part of the novel, but Maestro Dickens still introduces new characters. And if Frank is a good-natured, decent guy of the Cheeryble origin (and an indication that the brothers have or had at least one more sibling in their family), the stranger Noggs meets is a singularly shadowy characters. He reminds me of Monks from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. We do not know whether he is as sickly and vicious as Monks, but he definitely harbors some dark secrets.
Poor, poor Mrs Nickleby – her secret matrimonial hopes were dashed even before they had had any chance to solidify. And here is the lesson from Dickens (the insanity of this unsuccessful suitor is actually a blessing. When he was younger and sane, his behavior was brutal, devious, and malicious; actually it is quite reminiscent of Ralph’s behavior) Here is the description of the mad suitor Broke his poor wife's heart, turned his daughters out of doors, drove his sons into the streets; it was a blessing he went mad at last, through evil tempers, and covetousness, and selfishness, and guzzling, and drinking, or he'd have drove many others so. And this is the bold and unpleasant truth about Ralph Stern, unyielding, dogged, and impenetrable, Ralph cared for nothing in life, or beyond it, save the gratification of two passions, avarice, the first and predominant appetite of his nature, and hatred, the second. Affecting to consider himself but a type of all humanity, he was at little pains to conceal his true character from the world in general, and in his own heart he exulted over and cherished every bad design as it had birth.
Is madness the only way for Ralph to redeem his sins?

Now we definitely know which side John Browdie is. His noble heart and foul language contrast with Ralph’s linguistic fineness and brutality. I actually enjoyed reading this part for the pure linguistic pleasure Dickens provides. Each of his characters in this section has a distinct dictum. Their polyphony is a real gem in this novel.

And last, but not least. I would like to share with you my favorite lines from this section. These lines are full of irony, humor, packed with action and capture a true spurt of life.
Never was man so tickled with a respectable old joke, as John Browdie was with this. He chuckled, roared, half suffocated himself by laughing large pieces of beef into his windpipe, roared again, persisted in eating at the same time, got red in the face and black in the forehead, coughed, cried, got better, went off again laughing inwardly, got worse, choked, had his back thumped, stamped about, frightened his wife, and at last recovered in a state of the last exhaustion and with the water streaming from his eyes, but still faintly ejaculating, 'A godfeyther--a godfeyther, Tilly!' in a tone bespeaking an exquisite relish of the sally, which no suffering could diminish.


Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments The discussion thread is now open for part 8 of the novel(Chapters 40-45). Please share your thought and favorite quotes below.


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