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The end. Mirrors. Labyrinths.

March 26, 2012

So, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how I feel about Bleak House after having finishedit. This was the one Dickens novel I always felt the need to read, yet I once more feel lukewarm. However, it had its moments.

For instance, a number of things stood out to me in Chapter LI. This is the chapter where both Ada and Esther visit Richard, and Esther describes as young Richard as “poring over a table covered with dusty bundles of papers which seemed to me like dusty mirrors reflecting his own mind” (681). Dickens has made great use of mirrors in all the books that we’ve read, but this particular image is one of my favorites. I really like that Richard’s mind is being reflected in his (bleak) reading material. Perhaps his mind is also a mirror and we can have a 1001 days of reading case files. An interesting thought, as the doubling mirrors produce a labyrinth, which is a word (and image) that pops up through out the book, including three paragraphs down in this chapter. There Richard tells Ada that Woodcourt “can’t be expected to understand such labyrinths” (681). Later when Bucket is on his search, London becomes a “labyrinth of streets”, which it is (756). I almost feel the need to find every labyrinth reference in the book. Very Borgesian, very.

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