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Archived Group Reads 2011 > Little Dorrit: Book One: Ch. 30-36

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message 1: by Silver (new)

Silver This is for the discussion of chapters 30-36. It is also the concluding chapters of Book One: Poverty. Please be aware that if you have not completed this section of the book there may be spoilers here.

message 2: by Alasse (last edited Jan 14, 2011 12:11PM) (new)

Alasse I just finished Book One: Poverty. I'm so glad that Little Dorrit finally gets to leave the Marshalsea, I'm going to overlook the whole inheritance deus ex machina thing.

Flora has impressed me very favourably - she is in fact a very kind person. Who would have known, with all the blabbering =P

Oh, and the last chapter was almost painful to read. It's funny, I was looking for a translation for the feeling I had while reading it, which is a common expression in my language - turns out, it's called "spanish shame". It means "feeling shame on behalf of others". Which is exactly what I felt. The behaviour exhibited by Mr Dorrit, Fanny and Tip was indescribable. They even went so far as to return Arthur's money reminding him that it hadn't been asked of him, AND requesting a receipt!! Oh, the shame.

message 3: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I'm on Chapter 36 now, so I guess I'll continue on. Haven't reached the part that Alasse is referring to yet.

message 4: by Alasse (new)

Alasse Ow. I hope I didn't spoil it for you :(

Enjoy your Spanish shame!

message 5: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Nah, don't worry about it. I will remember what you stated.

message 6: by Kyle (new)

Kyle (kansaskyle) Mrs. Plornish's father
I was really perplexed, and a bit angrered, by the section involving Mrs. Plornish's father. Amy walks him back to Marshalsea, and her father and Fanny are humiliated she was seen with the man, a pauper. Her father makes the statement,
It is, if I am to close the painful subject by being explicit, that I have seen my child, my own child, my own daughter, coming into this College out of the public streets--smiling! smiling!--arm in arm with --O my God, a livery!

Then the father goes on to invite the same man into his home, eat with him, and then talk about him being toothless, going deaf, infirm, absent-minded, etc.!?!?

I was also angered by Tips actions and remarks. I wanted to smack him for his insolence!

Henry's financial problems
It appears I was completely off base in an earlier thread when I thought Henry was well-off. Henry is "tolerably" in debt, and his future father-in-law is going to pay that off, pay for a trip to Italy, and provide a "three hundred a-year" allowance!

Despite Mrs. Gowan's supposed Societal status, it appears Henry hit a home run with Minnie.

message 7: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I know the way that Mr. Dorrit keep remarking on Mr. Plornish infirmities, look at Mr. Dorrit. Mr. Meagles paying off the future son in laws debts, I guess he wanted his daughter to be among her own society, hence the payoff, she could not go around penniless, what a drab existence for her.

message 8: by Silver (new)

Silver I was confused by the episode with Plornish's father was well. The impression I had was that he visited the father frequently, and yet both him and Fanny acted disgraced when Amy arrived with him. I suppose they felt she should have been more discreet in her bringing the old man to visit them, as Fanny makes the remark about her coming in broad daylight, smiling, before all the public eye.

I also cannot help but to feel that Fanny helped instigate her father a bit because of Fanny's clinging onto her ideas of the family nobility and Fanny was going in an outrage about it, and is already prejudiced against Amy because of Amy working as a maid and staying within the prison instead of trying to "better herself."

I have to say that I had up to this point still felt some degree of sympathy for Mr. Doritt and saw him as just being a very broken man who was hanging on to a delusion because he had nothing else left but I was particularly bothered by the way in which he treated Mr. Nandy in the entire time mocking his various different weaknesses and his age and difficulties, and asking him questions already knowing what he would answer just so he could make fun of him.

It reminded me of the movie Dinner for Schmucks in which these businessmen would have a dinner where all of them would bring an idiot just so they could make fun of them and laugh at them.

message 9: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I didn't care for Mr. Dorrit making fun of Mr. Plornish either. One is older, but he didn't "buy" into what Dorrit was remarking about him. I think the one who is out of touch is Mr. Dorrit.

message 10: by Kyle (new)

Kyle (kansaskyle) In Marine Corps bootcamp, I remember my Drill Instructor telling us that we were no longer black, white, red, or any other color but green. We were either dark green or light green, but we are all military green.

With that in mind, it seems strange to me for Fanny and Mr. Dorrit to cling to their former status when Mr. Dorrit has been in jail for 23 years! He is no better than any other debtor in my mind. On the outside people can put on airs, but inside the Marshalsea walls, I think they are all prisoners.

message 11: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) They are all equal as far as prisoners go, but he did get special consideration since he was the Father of the Marshalsea.

message 12: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 495 comments Alasse: we don't have a term for Spanish shame, but I feel it terribly! You are right: the Dorrit family in a bunch, a part from Amy of course!, behaves "shamfully" when kissed by fortune an money!!

message 13: by Alasse (new)

Alasse Kissed by fortune! How sweet!

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 604 comments "Spanish shame." I wonder if it's a cousin of "Lutheran guilt"?

message 15: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) or even Catholic guilt?

message 16: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Jan 18, 2011 02:04PM) (new)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! How dare Mr Dorrit and his family be shamed by poor Mr. Plornish. I was particularly enraged by their cavalier attitude and then their taking it out on Amy. As we find out more and more about the Doritts, we find less and less to like about them.

Mrs. Gowan "is a trip" too! She who has nothing has the nerve to look down on others. I do not know how Minnie's family allowed the nuptials. What a way to start a marriage for sure although the Meagles did seem to realize that there was something amiss with Henry even before they found out about his debts.

It is ever so interesting the juxtaposition of the various families and characters. I am sure that Dickens is hammering home the point that there are good and bad in all classes and walks of life. It seems like he is ever conscious of the errors of social class and all the ills that follow their course in this attitude off society.

message 17: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I know what you mean Marialyce. Mr. Dorrit should talk, he has problems of his own to contend with, leave poor Mr. Plornish alone. Mrs. Gowan is a snob also. She didn't know of her son's debts before he and Pet got married. Dickens does class distinctions very well, and how the upperclass don't want to hobknob with the lower classes. For shame.

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I just completed Chapter 36 and I must say the the way the family left the Marshalsea was obnoxious. Again, they acted as if they had not been residents of that debtors' prison for over 25 years. They were so pompous and full of themselves. There is an old saying that says "Put a beggar on horseback and he will ride to h--" I wonder where the Dorrits will be riding to?

message 19: by SarahC (last edited Jan 24, 2011 07:53AM) (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments Chapter 30 -- this connects to my comment I just made in the previous discussion section about Chapter 29. Dickens is not only building the mystery but really, if you look at these chapters, it is almost like they are written in code. The mysterious Blandois appears. He is foreign, a world traveler. His ways, his speech, and intent aren't clear. Blandois focuses on the mysterious code on the deceased Mr. Clennam's silk watch liner- D.N.F. We know what is says, but what does it mean? Blandois tours the horrible old house and mentions "the devil's own secrets."

One thing becomes very clear though - Mrs. Clennam is out to see that God's "wrath is satisfied." [eeehhh, she gives me the shivers.] And she believes her affliction - no longer able to walk -- sets her in the clear --- she has appeased God with her suffering and she can think clearly now on other matters to be done. Ok.....?

message 20: by Kyle (last edited Jan 24, 2011 08:05AM) (new)

Kyle (kansaskyle) @Sarah

I agree that Mrs. Clennam seems to feel justified in her role and her suffering, but I think she needs to read her Bible some more.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. ~ Romans 12:19 (KJV)
As humans, we are all to happy to help God out in His vengeance!

message 21: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments Yes, and think at the end of the novel we will have plenty to comment about Mrs. Clennam and this subject. I am guessing she is a very representational character of Dickens. It should be interesting.

message 22: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Mrs. Clennam seems to me imprisoned by her wheelchair. It is sad, but she comes across as a miserable person, who just made Arthur's life miserable as well. How he came out alive and practically unscathed, speaks volumes about his fortitude, besides being in China, he had to go around the other side of the world to escape his mother.

message 23: by Brian (new)

Brian (regulator) | 12 comments Anyone have a comment on the following sentence from chapter 35. "But Mr.Rugg's a red-haired man, sir, and gets his hair cut." Is this referring to a red-haired man having to get his hair cut more often than a fair haired or dark haired man?

message 24: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) the phrase then went on the say that his hat was broad and his brim was narrow. Just reference to the man, I suppose.

message 25: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments Could is also mean that Ruggs kept his hair in a shorter cut than was typical during that day? Weren't men's hair styles longer then in general? It reminds me of Pancks -- it sounded like his hair was short enough to make it stand on end with his hands when he started his emotive conversations with Arthur. haha

message 26: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) could be. Maybe his hair was unruly.

message 27: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments ha ha

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