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Archived Group Reads 2011 > Our Mutual Friend Chapters 8~10 Mr Boffin in Consultation ~ A Marriage Contract

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Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Published in July 1864
For discussion of these chapters


message 2: by LauraT (last edited Nov 14, 2011 03:31AM) (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 495 comments To keep on quoting Dicken's irony:

Chap IX
Mr Milvey smiled again, as he remarked to himself 'Those kings and queens were always wishing for children.' It occurring to him, perhaps, that if they had been Curates, their wishes might have tended in the opposite direction
Chap. X
Have no antecedents, no established character, no cultivation, no ideas, no manners; have Shares
Did he know how we were going to end?

And what about a marriage contract? Will they survive?
People like this usualy do, dragging underwater shopkeepers, workers, and all those who have the misfortune to live around them ...


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 604 comments I thought the Shares rant was marvelously vicious.


message 4: by Bea (new)

Bea | 233 comments The installment highlighted by the discovery of the title character, Mr. John Rokesmith, referred to as "Our Mutual Friend" by Mr. Boffin in conversation with Mrs. Wilfer in Chapter IX. Funny kind of "friend" when both know so little of the man.

But not nearly so amusing as the "friends" that congregate at the Veneering's for a wedding in Chapter X. And we are left with a neat cliffhanger wondering if and how dear Alfred and Safronia will get their revenge.


message 5: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Nov 17, 2011 07:12AM) (new)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I do so like The Boffins. They are such fun as they discover their wealth and how now they must live up to be wealthy. Loved the adoptions section with the minister and his wife trying to find an orphan son for them and to think they would name him John Harmon!

Don't much care for Lavinia, but do like Bella. It struck me funny as well that the term "friend" is so loosely used in regards to Rokesmith. Yet, it does seem like almost bragging rights in their acknowledging his friendship.

The marriage chapter was quite funny. It seems the "happy" couple got swindled into the marriage by Mr Veneering. Do you think he knew they both had no money, no prospects, and were thinking each other had money and pretige? why would he want this marriage? They seem to be bent on extracting a kind of revenge on the Veneerings. That wedding scene was something, the descriptions of the guests was laughable. I think the Lammeles will work together well and maybe....find love???? I also loved the Shares rant, Susanna. Saw shades of today for sure. (occupy Wall Street and all!)


message 6: by Nina (new)

Nina (ninarg) | 106 comments I also wondered why Veneering would swindle Alfred and Sophronia into marriage. Veneering wouldn't gain anything by it, would he?


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Nothing that I can see, Nina. His whole personna is a bit stange don't you think, although I do like him.

The only thing I do not like is his calling Esther the old woman. Isn't that somewhat insulting or is he trying to be humorous?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 604 comments Well, I'm waiting to see if he gains anything from it; because it wasn't told from his perspective at all. Interesting question.


message 9: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 495 comments Nina wrote: I also wondered why Veneering would swindle Alfred and Sophronia into marriage. Veneering wouldn't gain anything by it, would he?

I don't think that they swindled anyone: they're so superficial that they both belived them to be what they proclaimed. They're too self centred to go deep into things!


message 10: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments I am impressed by the Boffins after Noddy's consultation with Mortimer. He and Mrs. Boffin are of quite some worth. A lower class couple with no education, working for years for this Harmon, who was basically a cruel man. They weren't afraid to challenge him or stand up to him about things -- at one time he even struck Mrs. B's bonnet off her head, he got so made at her.

And the two of them were the only ones who saw the coldness and treatment of the Harmon children. They really shared an emotional bond with John Harmon that never went away -- the only "parental" love that he had left.

I guess this is what attracts me to Dickens. He presents imperfect, odd characters, who make unusual decisions, eccentric, etc., but he shows that heart, emotions, longing, etc. exists within these characters.

And how philosophical is Boffin, he tells Mortimer, "there's some things I never found among the dust."


message 11: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Nov 21, 2011 05:38AM) (new)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) We are talking about parenting in BH as well, Sarah. It must have been a very important topic to Dickens. So far, pretty much all the "adoptive" parents have made better parents than the natural ones.

One can't really find love among either the dust or among people who only care for money and prestige, I think.

I find so much meaning both literal and figurative in the usage of the dust.


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Marialyce wrote: "I do so like The Boffins. They are such fun as they discover their wealth and how now they must live up to be wealthy. "

I agree. And it's really a nice reflection on the rapidly changing social situation in England that they can rise from relative poverty to wealth without, at least as far as we see yet, hostility or opposition from the historically wealthy. Of course they're not aristocracy, but we now have several noveau riche families, which is a commentary on Victorian society in itself.


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Bea wrote: "The installment highlighted by the discovery of the title character, Mr. John Rokesmith, referred to as "Our Mutual Friend" by Mr. Boffin in conversation with Mrs. Wilfer in Chapter IX. Funny kind ..."

And isn't it strange to find someone so far only marginally involved in the story being the title character? Wonder whether that means anything, or whether it just sounded like a neat title.


message 14: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bern51) Everyman wrote: "Bea wrote: "The installment highlighted by the discovery of the title character, Mr. John Rokesmith, referred to as "Our Mutual Friend" by Mr. Boffin in conversation with Mrs. Wilfer in Chapter IX...."

Interesting point Eman, I think that there are big things to come for Rokesmith/Harmon, but I could be wrong...I recently read something about the title, I will look for the link


message 15: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Bernadette wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Bea wrote: "The installment highlighted by the discovery of the title character, Mr. John Rokesmith, referred to as "Our Mutual Friend" by Mr. Boffin in conversation with Mrs. Wilf..."

I am also curious why his titular character was introduced so late in the novel (Our Mutual Friend is one of the three Dickens novels I have not read yet), but I believe Dickens had his own way with the titles and their relations with his character. I am currently re-reading Oliver Twist, and though Oliver is introduced in the first chapter,he is not the proactive character, he is not even reactive as a character. In his other novel Dombey and Son Paul (the son) dies early in the novel. Finally, in his novel Little Dorrit Dickens also took his time to introduce his titular character.

I wholeheartedly agree with the opinion expressed above about the wedding ceremony. It was majestically sarcastic. And the Veneerings definitely lack the veneer of true aristocracy.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 604 comments "Mr. and Mrs. Veneering" is a great coinage indeed for a nouveau riche family.


message 17: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Susanna wrote: "I thought the Shares rant was marvelously vicious."

Me too!

I was also so glad Mr. Twemlow was back for the wedding. Among all these crazy characters, he amuses me the most.

I was surprised that Bella got over her prejudice so quickly and took to the Boffins.


message 18: by Rebecca (last edited Nov 30, 2011 12:46AM) (new)

Rebecca Several times Mrs. Boffins dress in black is refered to. Is this symbolic?


message 19: by Tim (new)

Tim (tjb654) | 45 comments Rebecca wrote: "Several times Mrs. Boffins dress in black is refered to. Is this symbolic?"

I assumed she was in mourning either for the old man Harmon or for John Harmon.


message 20: by Sera (new)

Sera Marialyce wrote: "I do so like The Boffins. They are such fun as they discover their wealth and how now they must live up to be wealthy. Loved the adoptions section with the minister and his wife trying to find an o..."

Oh, I love the Boffins, too, Marialyce! There's an innocence about them that I find to be very compelling. It's interesting to contrast their "new rich" attitude with the Veneerings'.


message 21: by Sera (new)

Sera Bernadette wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Bea wrote: "The installment highlighted by the discovery of the title character, Mr. John Rokesmith, referred to as "Our Mutual Friend" by Mr. Boffin in conversation with Mrs. Wilf..."

I am also interested in what Dickens has in store for Rokesmith and Bella.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I know what I am hoping for, Sera!


message 23: by Sera (new)

Sera Ha ha - I hear you!


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