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Martin Chuzzlewit > Chuzzlewit, Chapters 01 - 03

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message 1: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy Dear Fellow-Pickwickians,

this is the place to comment on the first three chapters of our new group read Martin Chuzzlewit. As I have so far only read one chapter and a half, I will not be able to suggest any rewarding questions myself at this point. Instead I would like to remind you of the point brought up by Kate, namely the dualism between the author's voice and that of the narrator, or in other words: Are there any passages where we can see Dickens's voice getting the better of the narrator and sermonizing or in any other way intruding into his story (okay, maybe I should not paint this habit in such unpleasant colours).

As to Chapter 1, when I first read the novel, I found that chapter quite pointless, ambling, and partly silly (although as soon as you have read some way into the novel, you will see the point Dickens makes here.)

What do you think of Chapter1?

That said, I'd like to point out two funny quotations from Chapter 1:

"And it is well known that for the bestowal of that kind of property upon his favourites, the liberality and gratitude of the Norman were as remarkable as those virtues are usually found to be in great men when they give away what belongs to other people." This actually reminds me of our politicians, who use the tax-payer's money to at least partly fulfil some of their election pledges.

Here's a sly remark that does not need any further comment: "[...] a highly respectable and in every way credible and unimpeachable member of the Chuzzlewit Family (for his bitterest enemy never dared to hint at his being otherwise than a wealthy man) [...]"

Okay, I also like this one: "It is further recorded of them, that being clad from head to heel in steel of proof, they did on many occasions lead their leather-jerkined soldiers to the death with invincible courage, and afterwards return home gracefully to their relations and friends."


message 2: by Peter (new)

Peter The voice of Dickens and the voice of the narrator is a great place to start the discussion. In the Preface Dickens comments "...I have never, in writing fiction, had any disposition to soften what is ridiculous or wrong ... ." To pick one of many lines from chapter one we read "... those virtues are usually found to be in great men when they give away what belongs to other people."

It seems to me that in MC, as in other novels, Dickens will step from behind the curtain of the narrator and makes a more direct author's comment. In my mind it's like Dickens wants to make an editorial comment within the framework of the narrator's voice. Sometimes the author comments are subtle, sometimes there is an iron fist within the silk glove, but always, somewhere, there is that voice. I wonder if this stylistic feature was adapted, at least partially, for his audience who would hear, rather than read his book. If one reads the book, you can gaze back on what was read. If, however, your experience of the novel was oral, than this second layer of comment would serve as an additional reinforcement to the narrative story.


message 3: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2034 comments I have frankly never paid much attention to the distinction between author and narrator. Maybe this is because I have never taken a traditional literature course (St. John's seminars are more concerned with content than with process in literature), or maybe because I think it's not a distinction that I am aware of pre-20th century authors being concerned about, but whatever the reason, I do notice when the author intrudes personal comments (Thackeray does this a lot, but most older authors do from time to time), and I usually enjoy such comments, but beyond that, the distinction (and any importance some may think it has) generally eludes me.


message 4: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2034 comments For me, these first three chapters aren't grabbers. They wouldn't make me want to rush out and buy next month's episode as soon as it came off the press. The only characters I feel any real interest in are John Westlock, who is gone and there's no apparent reason for him to return, which if he doesn't I consider a shame, and Mary (if her last name was given I missed it) who seems to be the only really nice person in the novel so far.

(I had begun this book a number of years ago, but never finished it, and I have no recollection of how far into I read, but I don't think very far.)


message 5: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) I really enjoyed the satire in Ch 1. The quotation to which both Tristram and Peter refer is highly amusing.
Also in the first line: "As no lady or gentleman...it is a great satisfaction to know that it is undoubtedly descended in a direct line from Adam and Eve;
I actually laughed out loud at this (an occurrence only to have happened in the reading of PP and in another novel just begun for another group): "Toby Chuzzlewit, who was your grandfather?" To which he, with his last breath, no less distinctly, solemnly, and formally replied: and his words were taken down at the time, and signed by six witnesses, each with his name and address in full: "The Lord No Zoo". I confess the meaning of this occurred to me only at the bottom of the page.
Again, "This history having, to its own perfect satisfaction, ... proved the Chuzzlewits to have had an origin,
The leather-clad reference to which you refer, Tristram, is also genius.


message 6: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) Ch 2: his description of Pecksniff -- "it has been remarked that Mr Pecksniff was a moral man. So he was. Perhaps there never was a more moral man than Mr Pecksniff: ...He was a most exemplary man...Some people likened him to a direction-post, which is always telling the way to a place, and never goes there: ...

Mary is undoubtedly a kind soul, having no fortune to gain in nursing Mr M Chuzzlewit.


message 7: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy Actually, unlike Everyman, I actually enjoyed the first three chapters a lot. Even though Dickens seems to take unusually long before coming to the point, his puns and his general tone betray that he must have been in very high spirits when starting on Chuzzlewit. Like Everyman, however, there are two characters I like - only in a Pickwickian sense, however: One of them is Mr. Pecksniff, who is a first-class villain, and the other one is the disillusioned, suspicious and misanthropic Mr. Chuzzlewit. The conflict and the theme of the novel are very well established in Chapter 3, and I just want to read on.

Some questions that might serve to get into the novel, maybe:

1) What do you think of the weather and atmosphere depicted at the beginning of Chapter 2?

2) Do you think the way Mr. Pecksniff is treated, and described by the narrator / author a successful way of introducing him? Let's not forget that the narrator not only picks on Pecksniff all the time but that he also describes him indirectly with the help of John Westlock and Tom Pinch talking about Pecksniff.

Of course, as usual, these question are only meant as suggestions ...


message 8: by Peter (last edited May 05, 2014 12:49PM) (new)

Peter Hilary wrote: "I really enjoyed the satire in Ch 1. The quotation to which both Tristram and Peter refer is highly amusing.
Also in the first line: "As no lady or gentleman...it is a great satisfaction to know ..."


Hi Hilary

About those darn ( )'s and ...' from the Victorians. Meet you in the Pickwick lounge.


message 9: by Peter (new)

Peter Tristram wrote: "Actually, unlike Everyman, I actually enjoyed the first three chapters a lot. Even though Dickens seems to take unusually long before coming to the point, his puns and his general tone betray that ..."

I found it interesting that Dickens introduces both Pecksniff and Chuzzlewit so early in the novel.

It would seem that by introducing one, building their profile and then introducing the other character in a later installment would have given Dickens more time to set the plot and establish the individual character's personalities. We're seemingly plunged into the deep end early on in the novel.

I have not read this novel in many years and will valiantly attempt not to read ahead. Besides having my wife hide the novel, does anyone else have any coping strategies to keep me on pace with the schedule?


message 10: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2034 comments Peter wrote: " Besides having my wife hide the novel, does anyone else have any coping strategies to keep me on pace with the schedule?
"


You could buy a cheap edition, cut it apart into the three-chapter parts, and hand the parts to a trusted co-worker to only hand you one section each week.


message 11: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) Hey Peter, thanks for the solution to the brackets/ellipses débâcle. I shall hope to meet you to further my education tomorrow; well today actually as it's 3.15 am Wed in Ireland! Thank you!


message 12: by Peter (new)

Peter Tristram wrote: "Actually, unlike Everyman, I actually enjoyed the first three chapters a lot. Even though Dickens seems to take unusually long before coming to the point, his puns and his general tone betray that ..."

Everyman wrote: "Peter wrote: " Besides having my wife hide the novel, does anyone else have any coping strategies to keep me on pace with the schedule?
"

You could buy a cheap edition, cut it apart into the three..."


Everyman

Not a bad idea. You mentioned a site before that helps sort out the weekly/monthly sections. A cheap copy, divided into 3 chapter sections, would act as a methodology to experience the novel, and the anticipation of the next installment. Mary is the character who stands out most to me so far. Perhaps it's because Pecksniff and Chuzzlewit cancel each other out and there, remaining, is Mary.


message 13: by Peter (new)

Peter Tristram wrote: "Actually, unlike Everyman, I actually enjoyed the first three chapters a lot. Even though Dickens seems to take unusually long before coming to the point, his puns and his general tone betray that ..."

Tristram

Chapter Two's weather is perfect and Pickwickian. Any place that has "fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels" is vastly different from the beginning of BR, or BH, TTC and GE. And yet, when Dickens writes "A moment, and its glory was no more ... the gloom of winter dwelt on everything" we feel that not only is the weather changing, but the tone and mood of the plot as well.


message 14: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2034 comments Peter wrote: "Everyman... You mentioned a site before that helps sort out the weekly/monthly sections.."

It's called Mousehold Words. I checked them first to see whether they had MC, and would have recommended that, but they don't.

Here's their current catalog. I though at one point they had a lot more books than that, and the site looks different than it used to, so something may have changed there, but I haven't used them for several years, so could be wrong. Anyhow:
http://www.mouseholdwords.com/catalog


message 15: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2034 comments Tristram wrote: "What do you think of the weather and atmosphere depicted at the beginning of Chapter 2?"

I thought at the time it was pure Dickens. The sentence "Like a sudden flash of memory or spirit kindling up the mind of an old man, it shed a glory upon the scene, in which its departed youth and freshness seemed to live again" is a pure delight to one who is an old man who sometimes does get these sudden flashes -- that a writer who was at the time still quite young could write with such sympathy and understanding of the old is impressive.

And then, after such brightness and delight comes "The sun went down beneath the long dark lines of hill and cloud which piled up in the west an airy city, wall heaped on wall, and battlement on battlement; the light was all withdrawn; the shining church turned cold and dark; the stream forgot to smile; the birds were silent; and the gloom of winter dwelt on everything." Those who live in cities will not appreciate the power of this, but those of us who live in the country, particularly when the electricity goes out and night comes on very much as Dickens describes, with the clouds piling up over Vancouver Island, there's a shiver of recognition.

As an essay or exposition, this section is superb. But as part of a novel, it frankly gets us no further advanced. Which is of course typical of Dickens, mixing these extensive descriptions of places and situations into the action of his novels. But unlike the fog at the beginning of Bleak House, this description doesn't, so far, seem to me to have much to do with the story line, which I still maintain has so far totally failed to "grab" me.


message 16: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· (kmoll) Hi there. I have not been active here at all, although I have been putting my head round the door occasionally. There is a small gap in my 'currently reading' pile at the moment, viz fiction, as I am fairly well committed to some Big Fat Non Fiction stuff right now. It seemed like the perfick opportunity to pick up MC, and goodness, what a feast. There's rarely a writer who just takes such delight in providing entertainment: that first chapter is so archly ironic in tone and a sheer joy. I have to think of how, as an editor of Household Words or whatever, Dickens would enjoin his writers to 'brighten it, brighten it' even when dealing with serious subjects. It's true that he doesn't push the plot hard, but I daresay he was aware of having a few pages to fill, and get paid for, so he takes his time, yes, but still provides us with a cornucopia of pleasures.
Sorry just to gush. The serious analytical stuff will doubtless follow.


message 17: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) Count me as a fellow-gusher, Karen!


message 18: by Peter (new)

Peter Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "What do you think of the weather and atmosphere depicted at the beginning of Chapter 2?"

I thought at the time it was pure Dickens. The sentence "Like a sudden flash of memory or..."


"The stream forgot to smile." How perfect that is!


message 19: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) Perfect!


message 20: by Kim (new)

Kim Mr. Pecksniff was based on Samuel Carter Hall, a writer and aquaintance whom Dickens regarded as a hypocrite and snob. Yes, I looked him up:

"Samuel Carter Hall was an Irish-born Victorian journalist who is best known for his editorship of The Art Journal and for his much-satirised personality. Born at the Geneva Barracks in Waterford, Ireland in 1800, he left for London and entered law studies at the Inner Temple in 1824, but never practiced, though he was finally called to the bar in 1841. Instead, he became a reporter and editor.

In 1839, Hodgson & Graves, print publishers, employed Hall to edit their new publication, Art Union Monthly Journal. Not long after, Hall purchased a chief share of the periodical. By 1843, he started giving an expensive, unprofitable novelty, sculpture engravings. In 1848, with Hall still unable to turn a profit, the London publisher George Virtue purchased into the Art Union Monthly Journal, retaining Hall as editor. Virtue renamed the periodical The Art Journal in 1849.

In 1851, Hall engraved 150 pictures from the private collection of the Queen and Prince Albert, and the engravings were featured in the journal's Great Exhibition edition. Though this edition was quite popular, the journal remained unprofitable, forcing Hall to sell his share of The Art Journal to Virtue, but staying on as editor.

As editor, Hall exposed the profits that custom-houses were earning by importing Old Masters, and showed how paintings are manufactured in England. While Art Journal became notable for its honest portrayal of fine arts, the consequence of Hall's actions was the almost unsaleability of old masters such as a Raphael or a Titian. His intention was to support modern British art by promoting young artists and attacking the market for unreliable old masters. The early issues of the Journal strongly supported the artists of The Clique and attacked the Pre-Raphaelites. Hall remained deeply unsympathetic to Pre-Raphaeliism, publishing several attacks upon the movement. Hall resigned the editorship in 1880, and was granted a Civil List pension for his long and valuable services to literature and art.

His wife, Anna Maria Fielding (1800-1881), became well known (publishing as "Mrs S.C. Hall"), for her numerous articles, novels, sketches of Irish life, and plays. Two of the last, The Groves of Blarney and The French Refugee, were produced in London with success. She also wrote a number of children's books, and was practically interested in various London charities, several of which she helped to found.

Hall's notoriously sanctimonious personality was often satirised, and he is regularly cited as the model for the character of Pecksniff in Charles Dickens's novel Martin Chuzzlewit. As Julian Hawthorne wrote,

'Hall was a genuine comedy figure. Such oily and voluble sanctimoniousness needed no modification to be fitted to appear before the footlights in satirical drama. He might be called an ingenuous hypocrite, an artless humbug, a veracious liar, so obviously were the traits indicated innate and organic in him rather than acquired. Dickens, after all, missed some of the finer shades of the character; there can be little doubt that Hall was in his own private contemplation as shining an object of moral perfection as he portrayed himself before others. His perversity was of the spirit, not of the letter, and thus escaped his own recognition. His indecency and falsehood were in his soul, but not in his consciousness; so that he paraded them at the very moment that he was claiming for himself all that was their opposite.' "



message 21: by Kim (last edited May 07, 2014 12:15PM) (new)

Kim The original title for the serial parts of Martin Chuzzlewit was:

"The
Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit
His relatives, friends, and enemies.
Comprising all
His Wills and His Ways,
With an Historical record of what he did
and what he didn't;
Shewing moreover who inherited the Family Plate,
who came in for the Silver spoons,
and who for the Wooden Ladles.
The whole forming a complete key
to the House of Chuzzlewit."


By the time it was published in book form it was simply called "The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit."


message 22: by Kim (new)

Kim Tristram wrote: "Actually, unlike Everyman, I actually enjoyed the first three chapters a lot. Even though Dickens seems to take unusually long before coming to the point, his puns and his general tone betray that ..."

Wow, you two disagree on something, I am so shocked. :-}


message 23: by Peter (new)

Peter Kim wrote: "Mr. Pecksniff was based on Samuel Carter Hall, a writer and aquaintance whom Dickens regarded as a hypocrite and snob. Yes, I looked him up:

"Samuel Carter Hall was an Irish-born Victorian journa..."




Kim:

Thanks, as always.

I love the work of the Pre-Raphaelites. Therefore, with perfect Pickwickian logic, I dislike Hall. Since Hall is seen as the inspiration for Pecksniff, I will dislike Pecksniff too.

There, neat, tidy and shorter logic than the full serialized title of MC.


message 24: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy ·Karen· wrote: "Hi there. I have not been active here at all, although I have been putting my head round the door occasionally. There is a small gap in my 'currently reading' pile at the moment, viz fiction, as I ..."

Hi Karen,

I am very delighted to find you here among the commentators, as I remember your intriguing reviews on Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations. And I must say that gushing is quite okay for me all the more so as the exuberance of Dickens's imagination, as displayed here at the beginning of MC, cannot leave anybody cold. Analyzing books is all very fine, but enjoying them is probably what makes us all come here.


message 25: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy Kim wrote: "Mr. Pecksniff was based on Samuel Carter Hall, a writer and aquaintance whom Dickens regarded as a hypocrite and snob. Yes, I looked him up:

"Samuel Carter Hall was an Irish-born Victorian journa..."


It would be very interesting, indeed, to know how Hall reacted to his portrayal by Dickens.


message 26: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy About the weather descriptions in Chapter 2: Maybe the fact that the narrator here describes a picturesque autumn day fading into a somewhat grimmer wintry evening can also be taken as a hint at the grim topic of the novel, which Dickens himself pointed out as being selfishness as a ubiquitous human vice. Nicholas Nickleby all in all was a hilarious book for all its darker tones, and in Barnaby Rudge Dickens's humour was more and more outweighed by the realistic and strong descriptions of human violence and folly. Could it be the case that Dickens was hinting at his intention to, all in all, keep this darker vein by implying that he had arrived in some sort of winter of discontent?

The personification of the wind is a very clever device, which made me as a reader feel as though I were carried into the plot on nothing less than Ariel's wings. Note how he here also refers to the Blue Dragon, which will later play an important role, in order to enrich the atmosphere and provide his text with density. So again, I would - even though this might be shocking to Kim - disagree with Everyman when he says that for all its beauty of language the introduction does not really contribute to the story.

Quite on the contrary, the wind even plays a foul trick on Mr. Pecksniff, whom we first meet lying on his own doorstep in a most ridiculous position. Frankly, the narrator does have it in for Mr. Pecksniff, and by having him brought down the very first moment we meet him - which might also be seen in a figurative way -, the narrator also wants the reader to deconstruct Pecksniff without further ado.

Just consider what the narrator says of Pecksniff, and in how funnily scathing words he coats his criticism:

"It was once said of him by a homely admirer, that he had a Fortunatus's purse of good sentiments in his inside. In this particular he was like the girl in the fairy tale, except that if they were not actual diamonds which fell from his lips, they were the very brightest paste, and shone prodigiously. He was a most exemplary man; fuller of virtuous precept than a copy book. Some people likened him to a direction-post, which is always telling the way to a place, and never goes there; but these were his enemies, the shadows cast by his brightness; that was all. His very throat was moral. You saw a good deal of it."

The direction post imagery sticks and will probably not be easily forgotten, and then the reference to his very throat being moral begs the question if not the only kind of morality Mr. Pecksniff possesses comes from his throat.

Then, later on in Chapter 3,

"'And how,' asked Mr Pecksniff, drawing off his gloves and warming his hands before the fire, as benevolently as if they were somebody else's, not his; 'and how is he now?'"

... and ...

"'Who is with him now,' ruminated Mr Pecksniff, warming his back (as he had warmed his hands) as if it were a widow's back, or an orphan's back, or an enemy's back, or a back that any less excellent man would have suffered to be cold. 'Oh dear me, dear me!'"

Here it becomes clear, if it has not already, that Mr. Pecksniff is an expert at providing for himself while giving the impression he were providing for others.

To echo Peter and Hilary's comments, Perfect!


message 27: by Peter (new)

Peter Tristram wrote: "About the weather descriptions in Chapter 2: Maybe the fact that the narrator here describes a picturesque autumn day fading into a somewhat grimmer wintry evening can also be taken as a hint at th..."

Perceptive and convincing comments Tristram. It has been years since I read MC and confess that at first reading it again I missed much of the compounded subtle comments, descriptions and nuances that surrounded Dickens's description of Pecksniff.

As you may have read in some of my earlier posts, I believed our reading schedule might be a struggle for me to slow down too much (and not peek ahead) but obviously I will need the extra time to relish Dickens's style.


message 28: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) Yes, thanks Tristram for the references to Pecksniff's techniques on bodily warming. The excellence of those descriptions somehow eluded me. It was great to read them again with a deeper appreciation.


message 29: by Roger (last edited May 08, 2014 10:01AM) (new)

Roger I too found the personification of the wind gust pleasingly descriptive. "Angry", "sighing", "grumbling", bullying" and then after flattening Pecksniff "hurried away rejoicing, roaring over moor and meadow, hill and flat, until it got out to sea, where it met with other winds similarly disposed, and made a night of it."

Then there's the mail coach that conveys Pinch's friend John Westlock away. "I can hardly persuade myself but you're alive, and are some great monster who visits this place at certain intervals, to bear my friends away into the world." Reversing the personification with the mistress of the Blue Dragon "She was a widow, but years ago had passed through her state of weeds, and burst into flower again; and in full bloom she had continued ever since.." roses everywhere. Dickens is so suited for illustrations and animation.

I read the Barchester novels last year and noticed how Trollope set his scenes with such meticulousness, conveying all the necessary information to the reader, at times more than the characters themselves have. By contrast in these early scenes of MC you have to pay close attention as Dickens plops you in with little setup. He leaves out the nature of the Pecksniff/Westlock rift or why Pinch is so anxious for reconciliation. We are long into Chapter 3 before Pecksniff reveals the old man's identity as Chuzzlewit. And then we might wonder is this the titular Chuzzlewit or will that be the briefly mentioned grandson?

I find re-reading Dickens to be rewarding as I miss so much first time through especially when he goes off on his flights of fancy. I suspect his Victorian readers did re-reading as well as they waited for the next installment.


message 30: by Kim (new)

Kim Meekness of Mr. Pecksniff and his charming daughters




message 31: by Kim (new)

Kim Martin Chuzzlewit suspects the landlady without any reason




message 32: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy Peter wrote: "Tristram wrote: "About the weather descriptions in Chapter 2: Maybe the fact that the narrator here describes a picturesque autumn day fading into a somewhat grimmer wintry evening can also be take..."

I think, Peter, one of the tricks that help you not to read on in advance is to have at least one other interesting book at hand. I must confess, however, that last night when I was reading Chapter 4 I was tempted to rush on because the text captivated me at once ... But then why hurry? Let's enjoy the literary feast and do it justice.


message 33: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy Kim wrote: "Martin Chuzzlewit suspects the landlady without any reason

"


Thanks for the illustrations, Kim. As usual, they are an integral part of the Dickens experience!


message 34: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy Roger wrote: "I too found the personification of the wind gust pleasingly descriptive. "Angry", "sighing", "grumbling", bullying" and then after flattening Pecksniff "hurried away rejoicing, roaring over moor a..."

Hi Roger,

I enjoy Dickens's tendency towards personification quite a lot because it adds life and buoyancy to his descriptions. Another thing to be mentioned - although I think I've already done so - is his constant references to the sign of the Blue Dragon. Strangely, this gives me as a reader the impression of having known Mrs. Lupin's inn for quite a while - and yes, it is by dint of these little details that Dickens manages to make us imagine places and characters very vividly.

About re-reading Dickens, I would say, quite in general, that good literature - and this, of course, includes Dickens - can certainly stand regular readings by one and the same person. There are some books you can re-read every five or ten years and they will always hold new ideas, discoveries or feelings in store for you.


message 35: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2034 comments Tristram wrote: "About re-reading Dickens, I would say, quite in general, that good literature - and this, of course, includes Dickens - can certainly stand regular readings by one and the same person."

Although you're not really the same person each time, are you? That's one thing I love about re-reading the classics; they speak differently to me at different stages of my life.


message 36: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) That is so true, Everyman. I cannot now imagine why I considered The Pickwick Papers to be boring the first time I read it. It's an absolute hoot!

Thanks for posting the illustrations, Kim :)


message 37: by Kate (last edited May 10, 2014 03:09AM) (new)

Kate Hi All

I don't have much time to comment, but have just read the first 3 chapters.

I've read several comments about narrator/author and the description of chapter two. I just have to say that I absolutely love the mood he has created through the setting in chapter two and how cleverly he introduces Pecksniff, linking the wind with this devious character. (I love the personification too, Tristram). To me, it (or Dickens) seems to be saying that whatever is to come, nature will always come out of top (especially in Pecksniff's case). I also imagine the description of dragon (who seems rather 'in the known') as a quick glimpse of Dickens himself. I don't know why, but I just had that thought as I read that part. It's like Peter Jackson with his cameos in LOTR and The Hobbit.


message 38: by Peter (last edited May 11, 2014 06:29AM) (new)

Peter Tristram wrote: "Peter wrote: "Tristram wrote: "About the weather descriptions in Chapter 2: Maybe the fact that the narrator here describes a picturesque autumn day fading into a somewhat grimmer wintry evening ca..."

I'm at chapter 6 but holding off any addiction to continue beyond. The discussions of chapters 1-3 have been rich and rewarding and because we don't have to motor through the book at speed, I find myself going back and re-reading the novel based on our comments much more than I would normally if we were moving forever forward too quickly.

For example, with all the interesting commentary on the wind in chapter 2 and the Blue Dragon sign I have the leisure to follow up comments more easily.

I like that.


message 39: by Kate (new)

Kate Peter wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Peter wrote: "Tristram wrote: "About the weather descriptions in Chapter 2: Maybe the fact that the narrator here describes a picturesque autumn day fading into a somewhat grimmer ..."

I totally agree Peter. Reading at a slower pace and discussing three chapters at a time allows the opportunity to discuss various elements in detail. I find that if I read 5 or more chapters, then comment, the earlier moments are 'lost'. Thanks Everyman for suggesting we do it this way. :)


message 40: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy I just came across this bit from one of Mr. Pecksniff's sermons to his daughters:

"'When I say we, my dear,' returned her father, 'I mean mankind in general; the human race, considered as a body, and not as individuals. There is nothing personal in morality, my love. [...]'

These two sentences are very clever in that they indirectly show that Mr. Pecksniff's morality is rather not too closely related to his own person and to those of the people around him - but rather based on the most lofty and abstract principles. In a way, it doesn't concern him.


message 41: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) Love this, Tristram. He is totally distancing himself from any personal moral responsibility. 'Let someone else do it' might be his motto or more likely 'let them eat cake'. Thanks for picking up on this.


message 42: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy Your're welcome, Hilary! :-)


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