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The things catching my eye so far in Bleak House

February 26, 2012

1. Fog/ smoke/ wind… All very ominous. The latter especially hightens the supernatural aspect, which I like (realism, shmealism).
2. Labyrinths. Both the Court and the House have a labyrinthine quality. Even the lawsuit and Law itself seems like labyrinths, every turn takes you deeper in. Although, anything deal with the legal system takes one a tinge of Kafka in my mind.
3. Supernatural allusions. Satan/ Lucifer/ The Enemy. Witches/ Creepy cats. At least one allusion to vampires. And of course, ghosts/ banshees are all over the place. Maybe only figuratively, but I hope not. Take that realism!!
4. More clear cut distinctions between upper, middle, and lower classes. ( More clear cut in descriptive qualities). I understand that this one had an impact on ole Ruskin.
5. Opium and Captain Nemo returned from the depths…only to die again. Ok, it’s not that Nemo but still. Interesting the Nemo/ Nimrod confusion. I hope this won’t be creepily taken any further.
6. Birds. More rooks. Mr Boythorn and the canary. Miss Flite and her fine menagerie of birds.

Yeesh, there is a ton of stuff going on in this one. Also, Lady Dedlock and her chronic boredom. I’m intrigued by her sneaking about and possible connection to Nemo. Altogether, I can see this will be tough in keeping track of all the characters. But clearly Dickens is setting us up for a finely woven web of mystery. I am honestly hoping the “supernatural”/ non-realist elements deepen. I can see why Chesterton loved this novel so much; its influence is writ large across “The Man Who Was Thursday” and “The Napoleon of Notting Hill”. To end, I love that Dickens can be so “non- realist” and still be so sharp in his social criticism. In fact, I would say that this characteristic only sharpens his criticism. I can’t wait to see where he takes us.


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  1. I’m actually going to consider reading Bleak House now. Thanks for an interesting post!

  2. Hillary fowler permalink

    The wind thing caught my eye too. I think it plays in with the whole supernatural theme as well. The appearance of opium also grabbed my attention too. I like how Dickens made the classes more distinct, It plays in with Dickens promoting social issues.

  3. Even the fog plays into the supernatural theme. Look out, Twilight has nothing on Bleakhouse. I love the mystry of the supernatural. Great job.

  4. Your labyrinth observation is great. The court case parellels with the Bleak House so naturally that one might miss the labyrinth-like qualities of them both. Great post.

  5. I am also intrigued by the “Ghost Walk” and can’t wait to see where Dickens takes us.

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