Bleak House - Chapter 5-8 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 5-8 Summary

The next day Esther, Miss Jellyby, Ada, and Richard go for a walk around London. They meet Miss Flite, preparing for her court cases. She invites them to her place rented at Mr. Krook's shop known as Rag and Bottle House. He collects almost everything. He knew Tom Jarndyce, who killed himself during the Jarndyce and Jarndyce suit. Miss Flite keeps a cage with birds that are to be released on the day of her judgment, apparently involving the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case. They pass Nemo's room, another lodger living there. On the way out Mr. Krook demonstrates his spelling ability.

Chapter 6 depicts the meeting between Esther, Ada, Richard and Mr. Jarndyce, who is a man in his 50s, with silver hair. They meet his friend, Mr. Skimpole, an artist, also trained as a doctor, but now childlike and caring little for material goods. He borrows money from them for the alleged debt that he incurred, and is now about to be arrested by Coavinses, or Mr. Neckett. Richard and Esther promptly pay his debt. Only later Mr. Jarndyce tells them of Mr. Simpole's proclivities to extort money. He demands that they never do it again.

Chapter 7 involves Chesney Wold. Mrs. Rouncewell is Mr. Dedlock's housekeeper in Lincolnshire. She is one of the few people Mr. Dedlock trusts, considering other servants devoid of individuality they do not need. Mrs. Rouncewell has two sons. One of them became an iron master and got married. Her other son, George became a soldier, and disappeared. Her grandson Watt in love with Rosa visits Mrs. Rouncewell. Mr. Guppy with his friend Tony Jobling arrive to see the house. They stumble upon the portrait of Lady Dedlock, whose appearance strikes Mr. Guppy as familiar. He thinks he knows her although he never met her. He concludes he must have dreamed of her. They also inspect the terrace called the "Ghost Walk", where the wife of the former owner, Morbury Dedlock walks. She argued with her husband and opposed the civil war. During one of their fights she became crippled and then died, warning that she is going to walk there until his family becomes humble.

In Chapter 8 Esther becomes familiar with Bleak House. Mr. Jarndyce, the grandnephew of Tom Jarndyce tells her about his case concerning the will consumed by costs. Mr. Jarndyce is unable to end it, being a party to the suit. He appreciates Esther's wisdom.

Mrs. Pardigle, involved in charity work, visits them with her five unhappy sons. She takes Esther and Ada to the cottage of the brickmaker's house, where they find a battered woman with a baby, and a man covered in mud. They resent the mechanistic yet exhibitive manner in which Mrs. Pardiggle tries to help them. During their visit the baby dies. Jenny, who is the mother, is consoled by her sister Liz. Esther covers the baby with her handkerchief. They come back later to comfort Jenny but find her asleep.

Chapter 5-8 Analysis

Mr. Krook is a character that initiates as set of tragic circumstances. Like Richard, he also works towards his self-destruction, exerted through the desperate pursuit of income that includes dishonesty. Richard's interest in the suit is misguided but more innocent while

also ending in dismay. The legal systems sucks mercilessly all who are not able to stay away from it. Those involved lose control over their lives and themselves. Further developments are foreshadowed through Richard's attitude towards Ada and the case.

Their first impression of the house is enhanced by Mr. Jarndyce's interest in their affairs, education and well-being. They are acquainted with the house as well as people that Mr. Jarndyce knows. One such person is Mr. Skimpole who takes advantage of everyone, including Mr. Jarndyce. It is the first lesson of dealing with trickery and schemes. The ordered house incorporates hope and goodness in contrast to disorder and chaos. The danger of irresponsibility is emphasized as destructive.

Rainy weather is a frequent feature in Lincolnshire, affecting everyone and everything. The only person that is free from the negative influence of rain is Mrs. Rouncewell, a housemaid in Chesney Wold. As the Dedlock family is old, it has dealt with various experiences in the past, including murders. The gloominess of Chesney Wold invites further imminent catastrophes. Its past is connected with its future and nothing can rescue it.

Mrs. Rouncewell's two sons are positive characters in the story. The younger brother remains unnamed. George, who became a soldier has acquired bitter experiences but learned discipline and respect for others. He is compassionate towards others, but his straightforward nature leads to a behavior that is mistrustful towards lawyers on one hand while relying on truth. Mr. Guppy is somewhat comical with his fears of competition at work, adhering to certain principles while breaking them at the same time.

Mr. Skimpole is shown as a man with a child-like nature who loves independence. His philosophy resents work that involves certain gains, represented by bees. He admires drones who are independent because they do not gather honey. Those who gain through their work consequently become conceited. Hence Mr. Skimpole's preference for idleness as deriving more freedom.

Mr. Jarndyce is a victim of the Jarndyce and Jarndyce suit. His only salvation is in staying away without any involvement in the case. He becomes involved with philanthropists, but they also become dissatisfying. Ms. Jellyby, who forgets about the entire world when pursuing charity, is almost absent through her lack of concern about her own life. Mrs. Pardigle, who also does charity work, is overbearing and careless. Despite her good intentions, her work is unproductive, leaving her own children resentful and

mistreated. Her attempts to help are met with resentment as they are misguided.

This section contains 962 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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