Bleak House

Bleak House
Overview
Main Characters
Themes
Bleak House tells the interlinked stories of three young people who go to live with a kind benefactor, the Jarndyce and Jarndyce probate case, and the mystery that surrounds the wealthy Lady Dedlock. Love, money, and murder come together in this satirical exposé of Victorian society and its legal system.
Allan Woodcourt
Lady Honoria Dedlock
Bored and fashionable wife
Caring doctor
Ada Clare
Kind orphan and Jarndyce heir
Mr. Tulkinghorn
Ruthless lawyer
Sir Leicester Dedlock
Baronet; owner of Chesney Wold
Richard Carstone
Orphan obsessed about the case; Jarndyce heir
John Jarndyce
Jarndyce heir; owner of Bleak House
Esther Summerson
Supposed orphan
Help vs. Philanthropy
Appearing to assist the poor is not the same thing as actually helping to prevent crime, disease, ignorance, and misery.
Identity
Some characters are trying to discover their true identity; others are trying to conceal it.
Law vs. Justice
The legal system fills the pockets of lawyers but empties the pockets—and souls—of ordinary people.
Symbols
Numbering
Author
Weather
The fog exuding from Chancery, the drizzle muddying London streets, and the east wind bring misfortune and misery.
Miss Flite's Bird
While the Jarndyce case continues, life is held captive like a caged bird.
Krook's shop
Like the corrupt and ineffective Chancery court, the shop holds all the necessary information, but who can find it?
9
Order of Bleak House in the novels Dickens wrote
20
Installments in which the novel first appeared
1
Female narrator in all of Dickens's novels: Esther
0
Amount the Jarndyce estate had left after legal costs
Charles Dicken 1812-70
One of the most prolific English writers of the 19th century and by far the most popular, Charles Dickens was a consummate entertainer and a constant crusader for the poor and underprivileged. In Bleak House he satirizes the injustices of the legal system in Victorian England.
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