Bleak House Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe the general scene in the Chancery hearings on the Jarndyce suit, and London, as it is set by Dickens in the first chapter. Is there anything attractive or alluring about the ambience of either?

Dickens' description paints London as cold, muddy, crowded, heavily polluted, and confusing. Likewise, the lawsuit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce is heavy and toxic with adversity and unnecessary detail. The lawsuit "drones" on, involving thousands of pages, reams of boring detail, and has had a negative effect on hundreds of people. Everything about the Chancery seems overly serious with a sense of heaviness and drudgery.

2. Describe the relationship between the married Dedlocks, Sir Leicester, and Lady Dedlock.

She is young, fashionable and busy. He is elderly, obsessed with his honorable family name, and is in love with her beauty, sense of fashion, grace, and elegance. She does not come from money but has "risen up" since being married to him. He is twenty years older and quite wealthy.

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