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The Dickens Project - Archives > Our Mutual Friend: Book 3-Chapters 6-11 - Feb 21-Feb 27

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message 1: by Lynnm (last edited Feb 23, 2016 07:41PM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Again, sorry for the delay.

Here, finally, are my thoughts for the week:

Love and danger are in the air...

One, I was very happy to see that Bella has defrosted towards John Harmon/Rokesmith. When they were at the mill and she told him her concerns about Mr. Boffin and that she didn't like the way Mr. Boffin treated John Harmon/Rokesmtih, it made me so happy. I really want them to get together.

Two, it was nice to see a friendship bloom between Bella and Lizzie. Through it broke my heart to hear Lizzie admit that she loved Eugene but she didn't think that he returned her love because she was of a lower class. And this novel is all about class.

Three, which leads to Eugene. Am I a bad person to be totally in love with Eugene? For me, he's up there with Sam Weller and Sydney Carton as my favorites of Dickens' characters. He doesn't appear to have many good points, but that doesn't seem to stop me. In today's terminology, he's such a slacker, and I'm not happy that Lizzie's class is stopping him from loving her. Because I do believe that he loves her, but he refuses to allow himself to act on that love because of her class. But, I don't think that he means to treat her poorly.

Four, which leads to danger from Bradley Headstone. Eugene is playing a dangerous game with him - although I would be amused at how Eugene is leading Bradley all over the city if I didn't think that Bradley is going to kill Eugene. And Bradley does seem so crazed by Eugene that I truly believe that he does have murder in his heart. Mortimer realizes that Bradley is dangerous (Bradley's face is haunting him), but Eugene seems oblivious to the threat. And that's why Lizzie left, to protect Eugene, but it's not working.

Five, the other danger is for poor Mr. Boffin (and I do hope he goes back to being a good guy) from Silas Wegg. Will Wegg's and Mr. Venus' blackmail work? Or John Harmon/Rokesmith come to save the day in the end? Only time will tell.

message 2: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2115 comments Mod
This is another section that's very "Dickensian" in its variety of humor, gothic, pathos, and romance.

message 3: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1321 comments Mod
I wonder if Mr. Boffin is trolling Wegg.
Glad to see Bella and Mr. Rokesmith getting on better.
I hope Bradley doesn't find Lizzie.
Mr. Venus is clearly a better man than Wegg, but is he good enough for Pleasant Riderhood? I like her and hope she has a good end.

message 4: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Lori wrote: "I wonder if Mr. Boffin is trolling Wegg.
Glad to see Bella and Mr. Rokesmith getting on better.
I hope Bradley doesn't find Lizzie.
Mr. Venus is clearly a better man than Wegg, but is he good enoug..."

I'm not sure about Mr. Venus. At first I thought he was better than Silas Wegg but he's fine with blackmailing Mr. Boffin. And I agree - I like Pleasant Riderhood, and don't want her to go from one bad man (her father) to another bad man (Mr. Venus).

I hope Bradley doesn't find Lizzie either. I hope Bradley doesn't kill Eugene!!

message 5: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1321 comments Mod
Eugene's rudeness can be uncalled-for sometimes (fumigating Jenny Wren's dad), but his leading Bradley on a wild goose chase every night is pure gold! He cracks me up.

message 6: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2115 comments Mod
I thought the scene with Wegg and Venus following Boffin was great. There was the creepy nighttime scene at the trash heaps combined with slapstick comedy of Wegg's wooden leg getting stuck & Venus dragging him away by his collar. Same thing when they fight about whether to follow Boffin. Dickens' method of describing them is really funny.

Convenient of John Harmon to clearly mark his will on the outside of a box!!

So apparently the Golden Dustman wants more gold, when at first he was reluctant to take anything.

message 7: by Hedi (new)

Hedi | 960 comments I was also very amused by the scenes on the mounds, both mysterious and comical. My dislike for Wegg is increasing with almost every scene he is in and also Mr. Venus is not one of my favourites so far though I did like his attempt to stop Wegg from following and eventually robbing Mr. Boffin of the Dutch bottle.

Apparently there is a second will (issued after the current will) that leaves the whole fortune to the Crown/ state instead of Mr. Boffin. This is a quite interesting fact, as the young John Harmon does not seem to be mentioned there.
Wegg wants to blackmail/ sell this will to Mr. Boffin as it would leave with nothing, but one of the dust mounds. Both Venus and Wegg do not quite trust each other in this matter. Greediness and its effects on people seems to be one of the major topics in this novel which is also shown in Wegg's thoughts about Mr. Boffin:

"He's GROWN to FOND of MONEY for THAT, he's GROWN to FOND of MONEY."

Poor Betty! She has been running from possible "charity"/ the poorhouse until the end and can at least claim to have died in freedom.
She faints on the market place, but is so afraid that people might send her to the poorhouse that she's running away from the people there who seem to want to help her as soon as possible.
Then she is having hallucinations about her children and grandchildren, found by a Lock who asks her for money to not tell the parish. Betty is so afraid of that poorhouse and the parish (part of the boards and high ladies and gentlemen) that she pays him her last money.
I was once again a little surprised by the Dickensian coincidence that it is our "lost" Lizzie who finds the dying Betty. She contacts the Boffins asking them to keep her stay/ location in the country a secret. She seems to work at a paper mill owned by a Jew - I guess a friend of Mr Riah's.

I was also very much intrigued by the very emotional conversation between Bella and John. In my opinion John was close to confiding in Bella, at least he was giving some odd allusions like his being responsible for Mrs. Boffin's pain due to the change in Mr. Boffin's character.
And I also liked the conversation between Bella and Lizzie. Lizzie does admit that she is in love with Eugene.

Another rather funny and comical scene is Eugene's strolling through London with Bradley following him. However, I feel a little bad for Bradley. He seems to be obsessed which will only hurt him more in the long run and not make Lizzie love him. He might even miss out on the person who really loves and cares about him.

And what do you think about the "alliance" between Riderhood and Bradley Headstone? I hope this will not end badly.

message 8: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Hedi - You make a great point: it doesn't appear that John Harmon was mentioned in the new will. At first, I assumed that the money would go to the Crown if John Harmon wasn't in the picture because in the will that gave the Boffinses the money, that was the case. But, yes, here it is unclear.

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