Commentary on Dickens' Bleak House Essay
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Commentary on Dickens' Bleak House
Dickens proves himself to be a true master of description through his novel 'Bleak House'. The book represents what seems to be the highest point of his intellectual maturity, portraying a dismal city under attack by dismal weather tied by perfectly dismal laws. Dickens opens chapter one by introducing literary devices such as personification, phonological features and repetition to his description, thus setting the scene whilst stressing the mood he is trying to convey.
The usage of the present tense rather than the past removes the linear dictation by time and restricts knowledge to situation rather than chronology. To refer to the end (or non-end) of the fog…show more content…
Dickens' craft in creating intense and convincing scenes in his novels is reflected in 'Bleak House' where the initial chapter is located in the financial core of London. Through the application of a financial lexis, the reader is instinctively drawn towards the main location where Dickens describes the masses of mud to be 'accumulating' at 'compound interest' almost like money in a bank. Furthermore, this centres the reader's thoughts on the Chancellor and indirectly focuses on the unethical, unprincipled ways of today's society.
The fog described in the second paragraph is another focal point in 'Bleak House', where Dickens personifies it to an extent that it 'cruelly pinches the toes'. A negative connotation of the fog is portrayed, where it seems to be almost a wicked character that can be visualised by the reader. Dickens also personifies gas which 'seems to know, for it has a haggard and unwilling look'. Gas is not usually associated with anything, but used in this context, Dickens has given even gas an evil role in the novel, characterizing it to have a sense of authority and human features, allowing the reader the illustrate a wider
Bleak House was first published as a serial and appeared in book form in 1853 at the height of Charles Dickens’s career. Preceded by Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-1844) and followed by Hard Times (1854), the work comes early in the group of Dickens’s great novels of social analysis and protest. A major critical anatomy of mid-nineteenth century England, Bleak House shows some signs of concessions to audience taste in the use of pathos, melodrama, and a somewhat strident moralism. However, Dickens manages to weave out of these a controlled assessment of the corruption at the heart of his society.
At the center of the novel’s intricate plot is the lawsuit of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce. To this frame, Dickens adds an interlocking structure of subplots. On one level, the plot is a series of thin detective stories woven together so as to involve all strata of society. Character after fascinating character appears in episodes that are each of gripping interest; in Dickens’s masterly resolution, no earlier action or detail remains extraneous.
The third-person narrator of most of Bleak House is a sharply ironic commentator on the political, social, and moral evils that abound in the book. There is no ambiguity in the narrator’s stance toward the selfishness and irresponsibility he recounts (though he is not quite as sardonic or homiletic as the narrator of Hard Times), but this stern tone is both relieved and reinforced by the introduction of a second first-person narrator, Esther Summerson. While some critics consider the dual narration an aesthetic flaw, they concede that the two voices contribute different perspectives. Esther represents a sympathetic and morally responsible attitude that is rare in the world of Bleak House. She is a compassionate insider who represents a model that is, if sometimes sentimental, a corrective to the false values of society.
As the lawsuit of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce lumbers to a close after years of litigation, a gallery of characters emerges, each revealing how the moral contagion spread. With his talent for caricature, Dickens creates memorable minor characters to people the corrupt world. There is Mr. Chadband, who is a preacher enamored of his own voice; Mrs. Pardiggle, who would feed the poor Puseyite tracts rather than bacon; Mr. Turveydrop, who is the model of deportment and little else; Mrs. Jellyby, who supports noble causes while neglecting her own children; and Mr. Skimpole, who is the model of unproductivity. Many...
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