Tuesday 11 February 2014

"'We have never been readers in our family. It don't pay. Stuff. Idleness. Folly. No, no!'"

I wouldn't like to incriminate myself in any way, but it's possible that I've only just finished this week's reading of Bleak House ('only just' being 8.30pm on Tuesday) and haven't really processed anything I've read and might not have even read it very closely because I was trying to get. It. Done. I mean, that probably didn't happen, but I'm just saying. It might have. Possibly.
BUT! The good news is that I didn't wait so long to finish this week's chapters because I hated them or anything, just that this week has been (sort of) busy AND things are just generally that leeeetle bit harder to do at the moment than they might otherwise be. BUT! I did finish, so there's that.
Now. Thoughts and things. Let's see... I feel like Lady Dedlock gained a lot more personality in this section (in that, she actually did more than be shocked by some handwriting) aaaand, I'm pretty sure she might have a big secret that we're all on the same wavelength about, right?
"But why her face should be, in a confused way, like a broken glass to me, in which I saw scraps of old remembrances; and why I should be so fluttered and troubled (for I was still), by having casually met her eyes, I could not think."
Welp, either Esther has another crush, or Lady Dedlock is totally her mother. THERE I SAID IT.
 I mean, right? Either I'm just interpreting all the things wrong, or that's what's going on here. SOMEONE AGREE WITH ME, QUICK! Also, I feel like it's important to add, I kind of love Lady Dedlock's french maid. Such attitude.

Less awesome, and with less attitude, is Mr Guppy, who is clearly both HILARIOUS and DREADFUL. All the time. At every occasion.
"I saw Mr. Guppy, with his hair flattened down upon his head, and woe depicted in his face, looking up at me. I felt, all through the performance, that he never looked at the actors, but constantly looked at me, and always with a carefully prepared expression of the deepest misery and the profoundest dejection."
Ohhhh, Mr Guppy. I love how Esther finds it ridiculous rather than endearing, and it doesn't make her want to do anything stupid like run into his arms and ask him to forgive her for refusing him. Because, you know, he's being ridiculous, and probably definitely needs to move on. 

Especially because, (and I really didn't see this coming) Esther has an actual love interest! I had definitely filed her away in my head with the plain-girls-who-aren't-allowed-love-whilst-their-more-attractive-counterparts-get-some (snappy file name, right?) but no! She actually fancies a dude, and he likes her and left her flowers and it's all very adorable.

But then, of course, "I fancied she was dreaming of him when I kissed her cheek after she had slept an hour, and saw how tranquil and happy she looked." Yes. Very heterosexual, Esther.
Clearly, most of my attention still pretty much goes to the whole Esther part of the narrative, BUT I do have things to say about Jo and his chapter. I mean, mostly it's just the massive heartbreakingness of his situation, AND the way Dickens somehow manages to capture his pathetic situation without overdoing it, but with just the right amount of sads. I mean, I know that's his thing, but it's pretty special.
"To be hustled, and jostled, and moved on; and really to feel that it would appear to be perfectly true that I have no business, here, or there, or anywhere; and yet to be perplexed by the notion that I am here somehow, too, and everybody overlooked me until I became the creature that I am. It must be a strange state, not merely to be told that I am scarcely human (as in the case of offering myself for a witness), but to feel it of my own knowledge all my life!"
The other thing I found really interesting about his chapter was maybe the first instance of misery-tourism in fiction. This is maybe something I only found interesting, and maybe only because my sister recently went on a Jack the Ripper tour and I kind of don't get the whole wanting-to-see-where-horrifying-things-happened thing? But, I do find the psychology behind it fascinating, and I find it especially fascinating when a bored, upper-class Victorian woman wants to see the place where, for once, something actually happened. It's probably not an important plot point at all, but it's still totally interesting. To me.

Annnd, that's me. Next week, I shall endeavour to make notes and also be coherent and whatnot. But don't count on it.


  1. "I feel like Lady Dedlock gained a lot more personality in this section (in that, she actually did more than be shocked by some handwriting)" Ahahaha this. That is pretty much all she did in the first part, isn't it?

    I'm pretty sure Esther and Lady D HAVE to be related? Right? Yes.

    Was it not Guppy that left her flowers? I thought it was. I thought he was just continuing to be creepy and Esther didn't know it was from him.

    1. I think Lady D might have done more in the first part, but I couldn't be sure because it was in the third person sections and Esther wasn't involved? That's definitely how I roll with this book.

      COME ON, Lady D must be her mum? I feel like that was what was being hinted at? I DON'T KNOW.

  2. SHUT UP, GUPPY should be this readalong's refrain.


    1. I was CONFUSED about that part. Caddy was saying that he left the flowers at Miss Flite's...right? So how did they know the flowers were meant for Esther? I do not get the logistics of that situation.

    2. But, you know, he left he flowers there on PURPOSE. And it was clear they were for Esther, in some way I don't remember or maybe isn't spelled out at all. Whatever, Woodcourt loves him some Esther and isn't a creepy stalker about. MORE LOVE FOR ESTHER.


      I mean... Yes. Anyway. Woodcourt! I think I like him, probably. Maybe.

    4. That's it! I'm taking back everyone's Valentine!

    5. Don't worry. That was an idle threat. I put them in the mail already so it's out of my control. Except yours. I have no idea what will happen with yours. I just sorta...put a bunch of stamps on it. Hope that works.

  3. That would be AMAZING if Lady Dedlock was Esther's mother! Oh man, that'd be crazy. We have roughly 1000 pages to go before find out any which way, though. My money's on Lady D being Esther's aunt, but now I'm hoping for mother.

    1. I feel like... Why does she need another aunt? You know? PLUS I can't remember who said that Nemo might be Esther's dad (WAS IT YOU?) but but I like that, and that would explain why Lady D was all like TAKE ME TO SEE THE DEAD MAN'S PLACE like a creepy person, if she had, you know, sexual relations with him.

  4. Whaaaaat, Lady Dreadlock is looking like she might be Esther's momma? I really wish that I was still continuing with this readalong. But sooooo sooooo busy right now and my brain can't focus on Dickens and his bajillion funny-named characters at the moment. Le sigh.