04 February 2014

BleakAlong: Post the First

Well, here we are in the first week of the #BleakAlong and I've managed to make it through ALL the reading!

This will not last, so I intend to celebrate while I can.

Okay, so far this book is about contrasts, yes? There's the excruciatingly obvious Mrs. Pardiggle vs. Mrs. Jellyby, whose husbands should absolutely have dinner together, Esther. And then there's Chetney Wold vs. Bleak House, and the different areas of London, and how the Chancery differs from the real world...

But there are some things I HAVE to talk to you about: are we established and all on board that Esther and Ada are as queer as a three-dollar bill? Poor Mr. Guppy and his awkward proposal.

GOOD; more on that later.

But first I want to talk about the wallpapers in this book. Ada's bedroom at Bleak House is full of flowered things - the wallpaper, the upholstery, everything. Is it because she is Virgin in this tale, Mr. Dickens? No need to whack us over the head with that one. Then there's Esther's room, with the hard working people on the walls, making hay and whatnot, because she'll be the housekeeper you see. Without any training I might add - Dickens, that's a stretch. But the description of the sitting room is what made me sit up (hah) and take notice. It's papered with birds. Birds, who represent freedom and innocence, but whose song - like the birds of the mad old lady at Crook's shop - is silenced, in the case of this room, forever.. Is this a hint to us that the Jarndyce judgement will never come down, or that it might not be everything it's cracked up to be once Chancery has its way?

Close readings are the best.
Are you as weirded out by Boythorn as I am? Alice pointed out that Bleak House predates The Woman in White, but it doesn't change the fact that I met Count Fosco first and therefore will never again fully trust a giant, overblown man who has a strange way with the beasts of the field. And I submit to you, my friends, that Wilkie thought there was something creepy about it too, which could be why the two characters resemble each other.

The exception that proves the rule.
There's so much stuff in here, you guys! We could do a week per chapter and I'd STILL fill up 2 pages of notes.