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The Old Curiosity Shop > TOCS Chapter 43-49

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim Now in Chapter 43 we have more people enter Nell's life who are willing to take better care of her than her own grandfather seems to be. Earlier we had Kit and his mother who were willing to go out of there way to help Nell and grandfather. The wife of the cottager where they had stopped to rest "had observed, from the young wanderer's gait, that one of her little feet was blistered and sore, and being a woman and a mother too, she would not suffer her to go until she had washed the place and applied some simple remedy ..."

Later we had the schoolmaster, and then Mrs. Jarley, also treating Nell with much more thought and kindness than grandfather does. Now we even have men pulling a boat who take them on board and take them along to the next town, covering Nell "with some pieces of sail-cloth and ends of tarpaulin, which sufficed to keep her tolerably dry and to shelter her grandfather besides."


message 2: by Kim (new)

Kim In Chapter 44 we have another person who is kind and concerned about Nell. The man who tends the furnace "a black figure which came suddenly out of the dark recess in which they were about to take refuge."

When the man seeing how wet and tired Nell is says to grandfather, can't he see that the damp streets are no place for her, our dear grandfather replies,"'I know it well, God help me,' he replied. 'What can I do!"

Again he is the child and Nell must be the one to take care of them both. This kind man is the one who carries Nell into the furnaces and gives them a place to sleep and a place to get warm. This stranger who tells Nell, 'I know little of the country,' he said, shaking his head, 'for such as I, pass all our lives before our furnace doors, and seldom go forth to breathe." shows Nell more kindness than grandfather ever seems to.


message 3: by Kim (new)

Kim Chapter 45, the description of the town, the houses, the factories and the people remind me so much of a Zola novel it makes me want to go and dig out "Germinal" and start reading. Lines such as this:

"A long suburb of red brick houses--some with patches of garden-ground, where coal-dust and factory smoke darkened the shrinking leaves, and coarse rank flowers, and where the struggling vegetation sickened and sank under the hot breath of kiln and furnace."

"On mounds of ashes by the wayside, sheltered only by a few rough boards, or rotten pent-house roofs, strange engines spun and writhed like tortured creatures; clanking their iron chains, shrieking in their rapid whirl from time to time as though in torment unendurable, and making the ground tremble with their agonies."

"Dismantled houses here and there appeared, tottering to the earth, propped up by fragments of others that had fallen down, unroofed, windowless, blackened, desolate, but yet inhabited. Men, women, children, wan in their looks and ragged in attire, tended the engines, fed their tributary fire, begged upon the road, or scowled half-naked from the doorless houses".


I could just see Germinal's main character, Étienne Lantier, arriving in the bleak town of Montsou to make his living as a coal miner. Zola certainly could be bleak although I should probably avoid bleakness for awhile. :}


message 4: by Kim (new)

Kim There are many things I can thank the Lord for(as I keep reminding myself), and in Chapter 46 I could thank the Lord for the reappearance of the schoolmaster into our story (even if it is quite a coincidence). Finally a good friend to take care of Nell after chapters of gloominess. And also, finally some of Dickens humor returns, for me anyway. After the schoolmaster carries the unconscious Nell to the inn and calls for help from those assembled there:

"The company, who rose in confusion on the schoolmaster's entrance, did as people usually do under such circumstances. Everybody called for his or her favourite remedy, which nobody brought; each cried for more air, at the same time carefully excluding what air there was, by closing round the object of sympathy; and all wondered why somebody else didn't do what it never appeared to occur to them might be done by themselves."

I like that part, it seems so true.


message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim I just love the doctor in Chapter 46 who comes to treat Nell:

"The doctor, who was a red-nosed gentleman with a great bunch of seals dangling below a waistcoat of ribbed black satin, arrived with all speed, and taking his seat by the bedside of poor Nell, drew out his watch, and felt her pulse. Then he looked at her tongue, then he felt her pulse again, and while he did so, he eyed the half-emptied wine-glass as if in profound abstraction.

'I should give her,' said the doctor at length, 'a tea-spoonful, every now and then, of hot brandy and water.'

'Why, that's exactly what we've done, sir!' said the delighted landlady.

'I should also,' observed the doctor, who had passed the foot-bath on the stairs, 'I should also,' said the doctor, in the voice of an oracle, 'put her feet in hot water, and wrap them up in flannel. I should likewise,' said the doctor with increased solemnity, 'give her something light for supper--the wing of a roasted fowl now--'

'Why, goodness gracious me, sir, it's cooking at the kitchen fire this instant!' cried the landlady. And so indeed it was, for the schoolmaster had ordered it to be put down, and it was getting on so well that the doctor might have smelt it if he had tried; perhaps he did.

'You may then,' said the doctor, rising gravely, 'give her a glass of hot mulled port wine, if she likes wine--'

'And a toast, Sir?' suggested the landlady. 'Ay,' said the doctor, in the tone of a man who makes a dignified concession. 'And a toast--of bread. But be very particular to make it of bread, if you please, ma'am.'

With which parting injunction, slowly and portentously delivered, the doctor departed, leaving the whole house in admiration of that wisdom which tallied so closely with their own. Everybody said he was a very shrewd doctor indeed, and knew perfectly what people's constitutions were; which there appears some reason to suppose he did."


I just loved this part, it made me smile and I just got back from the doctor!!


message 6: by Kim (new)

Kim I n Chapter 47 the single gentleman and Kit's mother have gone to the town where the wax-works was last seen. It seems the single gentleman will do just about anything to locate Nell and her grandfather, but unless I missed it, as of yet we don't know why, and no one seems to ask him why. They all seem to discuss it among themselves, who is the person, why does he want to find Nell and grandfather?, but no one ever seems to ask him. As far as I know no one even asks him his name. It would be the first question that I would have asked this person, but no one else does. However, once again he doesn't find Nell and grandfather.

Also in Chapter 47 we find that Mrs. Jarley has just married the man who works for her, George. He isn't given a last name as far as I know. While I suppose it's all very nice for Mrs Jarley to have found a husband, I'm not sure why we're supposed to care, it doesn't seem that Mrs. Jarley and especially George was in the story enough for anyone to become attached to them. I guess Dickens may be tying up one of his loose ends.

OK, that's all I got for now. Back to the books. :-}


message 7: by Christine (new)

Christine | 330 comments yes. yet another creepy scene.


message 8: by Kate (new)

Kate Kim wrote: "In Chapter 44 we have another person who is kind and concerned about Nell. The man who tends the furnace "a black figure which came suddenly out of the dark recess in which they were about to tak..."

I was glad this man took them in. Yet another character who showed genuine concern. However the description appears to me as possible foreshadowing. A dark figure carries off Nell to the fire, as Grandpa just stands by. Hmmmm... it is yet another person who tries to help Nell whilst he just stands there, useless. But this scene makes me think, it she going to die and he is just going to let death take her away without trying to stop it?


message 9: by Kim (new)

Kim Kate wrote: " Hmmmm... it is yet another person who tries to help Nell whilst he just stands there, useless. But this scene makes me think, it she going to die and he is just going to let death take her away without trying to stop it?"

I think the same thing, and if she does die then what will he do? Will someone else take care of him or will he end up homeless and dead like Nell?


message 10: by Christine (new)

Christine | 330 comments Homes less and dead.


message 11: by Kim (new)

Kim Christine wrote: "Homes less and dead."

But maybe Dick will take him in. :-}


message 12: by Kate (new)

Kate Kim wrote: "Christine wrote: "Homes less and dead."

But maybe Dick will take him in. :-}"


Lol. If he did, good luck with that!


message 13: by Christine (new)

Christine | 330 comments I think dick would confuse GP. Dock is so jokey!! I'd like to sees alley in charge of GP!!


message 14: by Kim (new)

Kim Christine wrote: "I think dick would confuse GP. Dock is so jokey!! I'd like to sees alley in charge of GP!!"

Christine wrote: "I think dick would confuse GP. Dock is so jokey!! I'd like to sees alley in charge of GP!!"

Oh, but with your love of Dick I have a picture in my mind of Dick and you as his loving wife taking in poor grandfather and caring for him in his final years. Just keep your money hidden from him. :-}


message 15: by Kate (new)

Kate I forgot to mention another thing that stuck out for me in these chapters. The symbolic representation of danger and control in contrast with peace and freedom, through the industrial town and countryside, respectively. Just before they arrive in the town, the narrator makes it known that she has matured. She becomes more aware of the misgivings of others through the boatmen who appear to set alarm bells going too. To me, going through the town then back to the countryside seems to reflect her personal growth by suggesting she is burdened with the new rresponsibility that comes with adulthood, however, her weight is lift when she realises she has to lead the way.


message 16: by Peter (new)

Peter Kim wrote: "In Chapter 44 we have another person who is kind and concerned about Nell. The man who tends the furnace "a black figure which came suddenly out of the dark recess in which they were about to tak..."

Hi Kim

I really enjoy and appreciate how you have tracked and identified the many individuals who and been involved in Nell and Grandfather's wanderings. There certainly are a number of people who, in their own way, reach out in kindness to Nell and grandfather. The man who tends the furnace was, to me, an especially powerful part of the book. There are many layers of symbolism and foreshadowing going on in these chapters and Kate in message 15 certainly offers good insight. Dickens, the supreme stage manager, works each separate encounter will great skill. As I re-read your list of the various peoples' helping hands for Nell, the stark reality of how little (IF any) support her grandfather gives her becomes more and more glaring. I need to reflect and re-chart their travels in my mind again. My spider sense tells me that there will be much to reflect upon.


message 17: by Peter (new)

Peter Kate wrote: "I forgot to mention another thing that stuck out for me in these chapters. The symbolic representation of danger and control in contrast with peace and freedom, through the industrial town and coun..."

Hi Kate

Your comment in message 15 is very insightful. As Kim has mentioned in recent posts there are many people who reach out to Nell and her grandfather. Each individual occurrence, in its own way, contributes to the story, and as you comment there is much symbolism and foreshadowing that flows through each episode.

The contrasts between city and country settings, honest farmers/labourers with gamblers and cheats and many other concepts allows Dickens, I think, to comment on the many facets of society that are present and encountered in England. As Nell navigates this world she is faced with both the blemishes and goodness of humankind. The fact that she must tend to her grandfather and his weaknesses further highlights her struggle and goodness.


message 18: by Kate (new)

Kate Peter wrote: "Kate wrote: "I forgot to mention another thing that stuck out for me in these chapters. The symbolic representation of danger and control in contrast with peace and freedom, through the industrial ..."

I agree with you there Peter.


message 19: by Kim (new)

Kim Peter wrote: "The contrasts between city and country settings, honest farmers/labourers with gamblers and cheats and many other concepts allows Dickens, I think, to comment on the many facets of society that are present and encountered in England"

It seems to me on reading this that Nell keeps getting grandfather "away" from all the bad things. This always seems to involve getting out of cities or towns and out into the country. It gives me the image of town-bad, country-good. Now I don't really think that is what Dickens meant or what Nell meant. It just seemed like whenever goofy grandfather was around people he got them into trouble, and people were in the towns, so she had to get them out into the countryside again.

However, I am from the country and have no problem with this but I wonder how people from the city felt about it when Dickens was first writing it? Did they have the same feeling I did, city bad, country good, and if they did were they upset?


message 20: by Kate (new)

Kate Kim wrote: "Peter wrote: "The contrasts between city and country settings, honest farmers/labourers with gamblers and cheats and many other concepts allows Dickens, I think, to comment on the many facets of so..."

Hi Kim

You're right about Dickens seeing the city as bad and the country as good. However, I think Dickens sees the city as a symbol of everything bad about the Industrial Revolution and the economic divide it created. The country represented the old good life, because people where more equal as they all still lived off the land. Obviously, communities were smaller and people knew each other better. They were more friendly and knew that they relied on each other for survival. In the city, like today, they only have to rely on themselves to earn a wage and then they can buy the necessities they needed. Many of Dickens' novels reflect this negative view towards the city.

I live in Sydney, Australia but am originally from a village in the north of England. So, I understand what he's getting at from both perspectives and am not offended by either. I agree with his representation. Although reality is not as black and white as he paints it. We've had many years to get used to industrialisation, commercialisation and now globalisation. However, many of the problems he pointed out are still evident today. More so in nations who are currently moving towards industrialisation. Think India and China. Their society reflects the massive gap between rich and poor, as it did in Dickens' time. OK, I know I could go on but feel like I'm rambling. I'll stop there before I bore you with my sociological interests. LOL! But it's a very interesting discussion.


message 21: by Kim (new)

Kim Kate wrote: "OK, I know I could go on but feel like I'm rambling. I'll stop there before I bore you with my sociological interests. LOL! But it's a very interesting discussion."

You're not boring me at all! It is an extremely interesting discussion. Oh, by the way, does it ever get cold in Australia?:-}


message 22: by Kate (new)

Kate Kim wrote: "Kate wrote: "OK, I know I could go on but feel like I'm rambling. I'll stop there before I bore you with my sociological interests. LOL! But it's a very interesting discussion."

You're not boring..."


Hi Kim

Where I live, it does. We often have the temperature dropping around zero on a winter's night, although we don't get snow (boo!). The Blue Mountains (which are nearby) do, as does the Snowy Mountains down south. Many people are blown away. They don't realise our weather is that extreme here. Although it's a different story in the northern regions. It's going to be hot today though. About 34 celsius today and hotter tomorrow, and it's not even the middle of summer yet. Where are you? What's the weather like atm?


message 23: by Kim (new)

Kim Kate wrote: "It's going to be hot today though. About 34 celsius today and hotter tomorrow, and it's not even the middle of summer yet. Where are you? What's the weather like atm "?

You poor girl! I had to look up what 34 Celsius was and it is 93.2 Fahrenheit! How horrible! And in December too! It's not computing in my brain yet. :-} After all one of my favorite Christmas songs is White Christmas.

I am in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. right about the middle of the state, and right about in the middle of nowhere, at least as nowhere as you can get in Pennsylvania. Right now it is 46 Fahrenheit which I had to look up is 7.7778 Celsius (or something like that). All I know is it's about 10 degrees warmer than I want it to be. I like cold, and snow, and long winters.

It doesn't seem to be as cold or as snowy as it was when I was a kid (I live in the same town), but I can remember my parents saying the same thing when I was young.

I tell my kids about the big snows we used to get when I was a kid, how the roads wouldn't be plowed for days and we'd be off school for three days. My dad used to tell us about the big snows they had when the roads would be closed for two weeks and they'd still have school no matter what, but you'd have to walk through inches and inches of snow to get there. And this was every week! So I'm not sure if our winters are getting milder or if our memories are. All I know is I hate the summers and love the cold. :-} It's been fairly cold lately though, but no snow yet. :-{


message 24: by Kate (new)

Kate Kim wrote: "Kate wrote: "It's going to be hot today though. About 34 celsius today and hotter tomorrow, and it's not even the middle of summer yet. Where are you? What's the weather like atm "?

You poor girl!..."


I miss a white christmas. That's why all the northern hemisphere stories of Christmas are so special to me now. It reminds me of when I was young and we had lots of snow every year. Since I'm from a village, we used to get snowed in too. :)

I lived in Connecticut, back in 1996/1997. I arrived during the really bad snow storm, after spending sometime in D.C. What an awesome experience it was. The snow was reaching the first second level of the house I lived in. I'm hoping I get to go back and experience a white Christmas again soon.

Fingers crossed you get some snow. I'd swap it for the ridiculous heat here any day. LOL!


message 25: by Kim (new)

Kim Kate wrote: "Kim wrote: "Kate wrote: "It's going to be hot today though. About 34 celsius today and hotter tomorrow, and it's not even the middle of summer yet. Where are you? What's the weather like atm "?

Yo..."


What in the world are you doing there?? Move back quick while there's still a chance of seeing snow!!! :-} We have a lot of people in our area who go to Florida for the winter to get away from our "cold" weather. I always tell them if I ever start "going" somewhere it will be Alaska or maybe even Siberia or some such place for the summer. :-}


message 26: by Kate (new)

Kate Kim wrote: "Kate wrote: "Kim wrote: "Kate wrote: "It's going to be hot today though. About 34 celsius today and hotter tomorrow, and it's not even the middle of summer yet. Where are you? What's the weather li..."

LOL! Well we've got Antarctica. :) I'm here for good in Australia. I have two Aussie children now. They've been to England during winter, but were too young to remember the snow. Fingers crossed I'll take them for Christmas, in the next few years.


message 27: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) These have indeed been a bleak set of chapters, where I for one would pounce on any brief interludes of Dickens's wit. And yes! You can almost trip up over all the portents and metaphors.

A more literal idea that occurred to me though was that this is perhaps the first time where Dickens has revealed quite how much he detests industrialisation. It seems to dehumanise all the characters in the town as a consequence - even if they are kind they are ground down with filth and poverty.

Even Quilp is a delight, providing much needed comic relief. How can we laugh at him when he is such a devil?!

No pics? :(

Don't worry Kim - I shall look online. And thanks for all the uploading you've done so far :)


message 28: by Peter (new)

Peter Jean wrote: "These have indeed been a bleak set of chapters, where I for one would pounce on any brief interludes of Dickens's wit. And yes! You can almost trip up over all the portents and metaphors.

A more l..."


It is a rather jarring interlude with all of Nell's rural rambles to run face on at an industrial complex with a dark, hot, hellish feel and setting. Humanity does exist, but the cost of being human is high. Hang in there. You will soon be on the road again, but, as you wisely have found, the road, both metaphorical and real, is getting shorter for Nell.


message 29: by Kim (new)

Kim Jean wrote: "No pics? :("

Sorry. Although the last two campgrounds we stayed at on our way home both claimed they had free wifi, I could find no evidence of any possibility of getting connected to the internet, free or otherwise. Now that we're home here you go:



Flight by Water

Chapter 43


message 30: by Kim (new)

Kim

Watching the Furnace Fire

Chapter 44


message 31: by Kim (new)

Kim

A Procession of the Unemployed

Chapter 45


message 32: by Kim (new)

Kim

Nell in a Faint

Chapter 46

And may I take a moment to say to Tristram in particular - poor, poor Nell.


message 33: by Kim (new)

Kim

A Very Aged, Ghostly Place

Chapter 47


message 34: by Kim (new)

Kim

A Gracious Invitation

Chapter 48

This illustration in my copy is in chapter 47, but is listed as being in chapter 48. I can't remember without reading the chapter which it belongs in, but I'll take their word for it. Whoever typed the list's word for it that is.


message 35: by Kim (new)

Kim

A Descriptive Advertisement

Chapter 49


message 36: by Peter (new)

Peter Kim wrote: "

A Very Aged, Ghostly Place

Chapter 47"


I don't think about myself as being gloomy, but I do like this particular illustration. In every Dickens novel there appears a few illustrations that I find special.


message 37: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I like that one too, Peter. It took me a while to even notice Nell in the bottom right hand corner, probably because the house itself seems so much of a character. I find with Dickens that he personifies his buildings so much that they have distinct "personalities" and sometimes seem almost organic. A lot of Oliver Twist was like that, but I first noticed it in A Christmas Carol. He described Scrooge's apartments as being,

"a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of buildings up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and forgotten the way out again."

Come to think of it, I think I'll upload a couple of these as quotations - I've only just learnt how to "add a quote" on the book page!


message 38: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Thanks Kim - great to look at all these :) Hope you soon arrive home safely. A little different from Nell's wanderings...


message 39: by Peter (new)

Peter Jean wrote: "I like that one too, Peter. It took me a while to even notice Nell in the bottom right hand corner, probably because the house itself seems so much of a character. I find with Dickens that he perso..."

I'm sure you will enjoy the description of Dombey's house at the beginning of D&S.


message 40: by Kim (new)

Kim Jean wrote: "I like that one too, Peter. It took me a while to even notice Nell in the bottom right hand corner, probably because the house itself seems so much of a character. I find with Dickens that he perso..."

When I saw you mentioned not noticing Nell, it reminded me that I once read that Cattermole, who much preferred the architectural scenes to the people and crowd scenes, would even at times forget to add the people or person at all and would have to go back and do it over, or Dickens would give it to a different illustrator.


message 41: by Peter (new)

Peter Kim wrote: "Jean wrote: "I like that one too, Peter. It took me a while to even notice Nell in the bottom right hand corner, probably because the house itself seems so much of a character. I find with Dickens ..."

Interesting. I really enjoy the anecdotes of the novel, picture, music or whatever. Often, more so than even the actual work under discussion or listening.


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