WARNING: Rambly readalong post herein.
Not only is it time for our Bleak Along posts, but I've actually finished the reading.
First, a couple notes on last week's reading:
1) You guys were right about Esther. Her refusal of Guppy's proposal and subsequent befuddlement at her emotional response was hilarious and endearing like woah. (Though she really won me over in chapter 14 by referring to her face in the third person. Approved.)
2) RICHARD WANTED TO BE A PIRATE. YOU NEED TO TELL ME THESE THINGS.
Onward! This week we're talking about chapters 12-21. This section was a roller coaster of emotions, for me.
|If "happy banana" were "BOYTHORN!" and "sad banana" were|
"I'm Dickens and I'm more like those characters I write as tediously loquacious
than I'd care to admit." *squints at Mr Chadband*
Overall, though, I'm thoroughly sucked in. I'm the type to make exclamations while reading, mainly to feel like I'm including Neil in the experience (lucky man), and my most common exclamation in this section has been "Fucking Richard." At least Skimpole's self aware, albeit in a sociopathic kind of way.
Also a result of this section: I'm completely obsessed with Lady Dedlock. What, in fact, is her deal? Questions for you regarding Lady D:
- She's definitely Esther's aunt, right?
- And the sister Jarndyce was closer to than he was to Lady Dedlock was Esther's mom?
- Who was Nemo and how was he related to Lady D? Was he Esther's father?
- Did she know who Esther was on sight? (Yes.)
- Why is she so enamoured with her pretty maid? Just ... face? She has a really nice face?
- In those third person chapters, who is narrating to us? Who is calling Lady D "My Lady"?
I love that this mystery is really just a question of who Esther's parents were, but somehow Dickens has managed to wind up the tension to the point where I freaked RIGHT. OUT. when Esther heard Lady D's voice behind her (when they took shelter from that storm). The glory of that scene's conclusion, by the by, and the image of Hortense tromping off barefoot through the
blood of her enemies rain-soaked grass carried me through the third-person chapters that followed.
Hortense, though, you guys. When she was first introduced, there was a note attached to her name that might have been (probably was) a major spoiler, so that's colouring my view of her slightly. She is bad as ass, though, right? Super suspicious and bad as ass.
Dickens really breaks out the horrifically tragic children in this section: Peepy, whose continued peace of mind was conditional on petting Esther's and Caddy's faces. And Charley, with her over-sized bonnet, working so hard for her younger siblings. And Jo, having to move on though he's been moving on since he was BORN AND GODDAMMIT.
This post is getting long and has no logic to it, but there's just so much. Parting thoughts:
- Guppy got really creepy, really fast.
- Mr. Badger is way more in love with Mrs. Badger's previous two husbands than he is with Mrs. Badger.
- Caddy's dancing teacher is named Mr. Prince Turveydrop I mean.
- "It was so pretty to have her clinging to me in that way, hiding her face."
- Esther finds Prince Turveydrop appealing because he is fair and feminine.
- Esther's also maybe interested in Mr. Woodcourt but let's not talk about that.
- Why is Flite getting paid off?
- Good God, the names of her birds. That is some easterly shit.
- "Mr Quale asked Ada and me, not inaudibly, whether [Mr Gusher] was not a great creature - which he certainly was, flabbily speaking."
I just, that's it for now. Thank you, Alice, for hosting us and, most importantly, bringing Boythorn into our lives.