Tuesday, February 4, 2014

She regards a ghost as one of the privileges of the upper classes

Welcome to the first post of the Bleak House readalong hosted by Alice! I was so in the mood for a readalong because one, my reading habits since December have been...lacking. And two, I have found many GIFs that need shared with the (book blogging) world so good timing.
I know we're not really doing an intro post BUT I do have a confession before I dive right in.

Every time I say "Bleak House" in my head, I sing it to the tune of Brick House. I feel like this is the wrong tone for the book. Probably. Although maybe Dickens will surprise me.

Alice said we should create character lists. Which sounds like a super smart thing to do and something that I knew I wasn't going to. I am not nearly coordinated enough/have enough space to be taking notes while reading on the subway. This also means I keep mixing up character names. After reading the first 11 chapters, here's the character list I've come up with, which will also serve as my post, cos man are there a lot of characters.

Lady Dreadlock: Yes, I'm aware it's actually Dedlock but I kept saying "Dreadlock," which led to a fun character visual so it's staying.
Getty Images
Let's see, what do I know about her? She is married some some guy and was bored in this big house so she went to another house and commented on some handwriting.

Mr. Tulkinghorn: Dreadlock's old fashioned lawyer guy, whom I do not trust. He seems sketchy.

Esther: Girl with really depressing childhood cos its a Dickens book. I mean, come on, a little kid is told that their birthday is the saddest day of the year and her godmother (who is actually HER AUNT and I bet that will be important at some point) tells her she wishes she was never born. I want to like more cos she's the narrator and all but she's sort of boring and REALLY just wants to please everyone. Especially Ada. Because she loves her.

Ada: Lady who has something to do with this Jarndyce case (which I really don't understand, but I think that might be the point) and also sorta loves EstherAlso loves her cousin Rick, who I'm hoping is a distant cousin. I don't know much about her yet. She's as interesting as Esther.

Richard: Except people keep calling him Rick, so let's go with that. Also part of this Jarndyce case...somehow. None of them (Esther, Ada, Rick) seem to know exactly what's going on, but hey, a place to live. That's cool. He loves his (again hopefully distant) cousin Ada. And people seem to want them to get together. Except Esther probably doesn't. He has some ideas about money that match mine, which means they aren't great.

Mr. Guppy: Guy I really liked at first when they described his technicolor neckerchief but then got all creepy with his aggressive engagement proposal to Esther. I'm sure there are reasons for his sudden proposal that comes after all of meeting her two times and also she doesn't know who you are and also, Ada.
Mr. Guppy, pretty much
The Jellybelly family: I know it's actually Jellybys but please see my "dreadlock" reasoning. The matriarch is REALLY into doing...something for Africa. Charity I think. The whole house is a mess because she's so focused on writing all these letters. Except she actually just dictates and her daughter writes. The husband is meek and doesn't really do anything and I don't know why HE can't just take care of the house if he's not doing anything else. But instead I think we're supposed to hate her cos she's putting her other work before her family/housework.

Mr. John Jarndyce: I keep calling him Jaundice guy. He must have something to do with the Jarndyce and Jarndyce lawsuit (try not to be too impressed by my detective skills) and he sends Esther to this school after her godmother/aunt dies before having her move to his house and be his housekeeper. He also has his cousins (everyone is a cousin) Ada and Richard. I think I like him. Really focused on the way the wind is blowing.

Harold Skimpole: Hehe, skinpole. Anyway, he's sort of an ass. He seems all nice and fun and not concerned with things like working himself to death but instead wants to enjoy the little things. Things he also enjoys: not paying any attention to his money so when he's about to get in trouble for his debt he makes other people pay it. Cos he's so childish, you see, and children don't deal with money and shut up, jerk. Esther and Richard pay off his debt and then Jarndyce laughs at them and pays them back and makes them promise not to give him anymore money.

Mrs. Rouncewell: Housekeeper at Lady Dreadlock's boring house. Has a son who is an engineer and thinks being an engineer is a FAILURE and I think I'm going to have to send some quotes to my (engineer) brother. Tells a story about how the boring house is actually haunted by some rich lady that walks back and forth all the time. Not the scariest ghost, so I guess I see why Dreadlock thinks the place is boring.

Mrs. Pardiggle: Like Mrs. Jellybelly, in that she's a lady obsessed with her charity work and also her family hates her. In this case her family seems to have a point cos she is very brash and she keeps dragging her 5 kids with her and taking all of their allowance money to give to different causes. She drags her sons along with Ada and Esther to this bricklayer's house. He beats his wife and he drinks all the time and his kids are flithy and they all hate Pardiggle, who insists on reading the Bible to them.
Here's Mrs. Pardiggle
Boythorn: A friend of Jarndyce. He's fun and loud and has a pet bird that sits on him. He hates Lady Dedlock's family.

Mr. & Mrs. Snagsby: Law writer guy and his wife. They hire people to copy law stuff. Things that you would do before copy machines were invented.

Krook: Guy that owns this shop that seems to only buy things but not sell them, which seems like a bad business model. Also rents out some rooms, including one to this old lady that seems crazy but might also know what's going on with the J&J case.

Miss Flitt: Crazy lady that seems to know about the lawsuit.

Nemo: Means "NO ONE" as Tulkinghorn deduces and is found dead in one of Krook's rooms from an opium overdose.

So. What is this J&J case? What's with the dead body at the end? What is Mr. Tulkinghorn up to? What was up with Guppy's proposal? Will Esther quit being boring and going on about how awesome she is at housekeeping and making kids like her? WE SHALL SEE!

Title quote from location 1588

Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1853. Kindle edition.