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message 1: by Kristel (last edited Oct 20, 2017 06:52PM) (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3950 comments Mod
This section is set at Bleak House.

1. What is the initial impression you get of Bleak House as Esther, Richard and Ada arrive?

2. Is Esther really modest and uncomfortable talking about herself?

3. This section has the first supernatural element and adds a layer of intrigue to the story. There is also an element of romance and melodrama in the story. Why did Dickens add these elements?

4. Comment on these characters; Harold Skimpole, William Guppy, Prince Turveydrop, and Sir Leicester Dedlock.

5. Who was the ghost that is said to haunt Chesney Wold in real life?

6. What does Mr Jarndyce call his room where he goes when in a bad mood?

7. What layers of secrets do we find in this section (11-14)?

8. Is Esther a reliable narrator?

9. How does Nemo die?

10. Why was lady Dedlock eager to return to Paris?


message 2: by Melissa (new)

Melissa 1. What is the initial impression you get of Bleak House as Esther, Richard and Ada arrive?

Bleak, initially.... but warm and homey, if a bit eclectic with oddly attached rooms and stuff from various previous occupants.

2. Is Esther really modest and uncomfortable talking about herself?
I’m not sure, I think that’s some of it, but some of it is that she feels beneath some of her ‘friends’ and therefore defers to them more. She’s more differential to those that she considers her betters, or was taught and raised to think of as her betters by her godmother.

3. This section has the first supernatural element and adds a layer of intrigue to the story. There is also an element of romance and melodrama in the story. Why did Dickens add these elements?
He is a good storyteller and wrote serially, so my guess more storylines and plots, more interest, more varied readership, more issues, more income....if I’m being very cynical here. Plus it does ramp up the suspense to keep readers coming back for more, plus there’s a sub/side story in here for every taste.


4. Comment on these characters; Harold Skimpole, William Guppy, Prince Turveydrop, and Sir Leicester Dedlock.

Skimpole...”the adult child”. The flibbertigibbet...claims childlike behaviors so he can escape responsibility for anything and everything.

Guppy....clerk at the office, currently stalking Esther. He’s seen the likeness of the portrait, so whether it’s purely infatuation or more monetarily calculating is yet to be seen.

Turveydrop...seems like a kindred soul for Caddy, both have overwhelming parents, who count on them excessively, but pay them little attention or care. I’m not sure he’s strong enough to strike out with her and start over for themselves though or not. He seems likely to cave to his father’s whims so Caddy may just be trading in her mother for an equally dreadful father-in-law.

Sir Dedlock....stick up his keister, stuffy, ancestry is everything aristocrate, prideful know-it-all.

5. Who was the ghost that is said to haunt Chesney Wold in real life?
The wife of an ancestor.

6. What does Mr Jarndyce call his room where he goes when in a bad mood?
The growlery... and I think we all need one of those to go and be left alone in.

7. What layers of secrets do we find in this section (11-14)?
I am so far past that now, I’m not sure which ones were in that section.... sorry...

8. Is Esther a reliable narrator?
She seems to be

9. How does Nemo die?
Accidental Overdose.

10. Why was lady Dedlock eager to return to Paris?
Miserable weather (too much rain), and a pacing ghost.


message 3: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 465 comments 1. What is the initial impression you get of Bleak House as Esther, Richard and Ada arrive? - It reminds me of the house in The Secret Garden, except that the owner is a little younger and a lot less grumpy. It also reminds me a bit of the house in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Bleak House is old and complex, with lots of additions of rooms, halls, closets and nooks over the generations that would make it fun for kids to explore. It's also drafty and a bit unappreciated and poorly maintained.

2. Is Esther really modest and uncomfortable talking about herself? - It seems more like an affectation, assumed modesty she puts on for the comfort of others. She seems to straightforward and practical to be so bothered by 'modesty' unless people around her expect her to act modest.

3. This section has the first supernatural element and adds a layer of intrigue to the story. There is also an element of romance and melodrama in the story. Why did Dickens add these elements? - I didn't really buy into the ghost story. Old buildings are 'supposed' to have ghosts, though, and in a family as screwed up as the one in this book, there ought to be plenty of candidates for good ghosts. I've been wondering while reading this section who Dickens assumed his readers were. I'm guessing he was writing for an upper/middle-class female audience with this novel so far with all the romantic and melodramatic elements.

4. Comment on these characters; Harold Skimpole, William Guppy, Prince Turveydrop, and Sir Leicester Dedlock. - Skimpole does really seem mildly autistic(maybe Aspergers?), clever and manipulative, but without the ability to relate to other people the way everyone else does, and lacking real understanding of the customs of the society he lives in. Guppy and Turveydrop are doomed to be less than heroically successful just by way of their character names, and aside from wooing women, they both have little memorable about them so far. I certainly was not charmed by either of them so far. Sir Dedlock seems like an older version of Guppy and Turveydrop, just as unmemorable, but with a title and a bit of money. All 4 of these men simply exist in their respective stations till they die, though since Skimpole doesn't recognize the limitations of money and class/status, he might have more fun than the other 3.

5. Who was the ghost that is said to haunt Chesney Wold in real life? - Lady Morbury Dedlock, who lived during the 'civil war', so early-mid 1600's?, and who was said to have vowed to haunt the house until the Dedlock family was disgraced, in retaliation for the death of her brother at the hands of another Dedlock relation.

6. What does Mr Jarndyce call his room where he goes when in a bad mood? The growlery. It says something about John Jarndyce that even though he was living alone with just his servants for years, he has such a room as this. I wondered if maybe he has bipolar, and when he is in a 'bad' mood he is experiencing something more severe, acute mental illness rather than just a bad mood.

7. What layers of secrets do we find in this section (11-14)? - Esther's origins, the identity of Nemo, how Lady Dedlock and Nemo are connected.

8. Is Esther a reliable narrator? Mostly.

9. How does Nemo die? Opium overdose

10. Why was lady Dedlock eager to return to Paris? - Not sure. She started out in Lincolnshire, which was flooding and soggy. Then she was in Paris with her husband, and found Paris tedious. When she returned home to Lincolnshire, to Chesney Wold, the flooding had stopped, the bridge was fixed, and she was set to entertain with a huge party at Chesney Wold. The family solicitor, who has been digging up information about Nemo, turns up a while later at Chesney Wold with news about Nemo, and doesn't seem surprised that his news upsets Lady Dedlock. I don't recall her being eager to return to Paris, though.


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