Bleak House - Chapter 29-32 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 29-32 Summary

As Sir Leicester reads a letter about the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case to Lady Dedlock, their servant Mercury announces that Mr. Guppy has arrived. Mr. Guppy reveals to Lady Dedlock that he noticed the resemblance between her and Esther. He knows about Nemo as the father of Esther Summerson, whose real name is Esther Hawdon, and of letters written by him that he is going to get. If she is interested, he can bring them. He is mainly motivated by bettering his chances with Esther. Lady Dedlock is shocked by the revelation that her child she thought was dead is alive.

In Chapter 30 Mr. Jarndyce invites Allan's mother, Mrs. Woodcourt. She tells Esther about her son's relations that include the connection with the king himself. She has a good opinion of Esther but thinks she will marry someone older and rich. As her son may be confused about various ladies he meets, his real intentions may be misunderstood.

Caddy Jellyby visits them, announcing her marriage despite her father's bankruptcy. Esther helps her to prepare outfits while Mr. Jarndyce offers a wedding dress and a bonnet.

Chapter 31 reveals Esther teaching Charley to read and write. She finds out that Jo is sick and wants to bring him to Bleak House. Mr. Skimpole protests, fearing his sickness is contagious. Mr. Jarndyce decides to take care of him, prepares a place for him, but the next day Jo disappears. Charley becomes ill and then Esther.

In Chapter 32, Mr. Snagsby ventures towards Mr. Krook's shop, encounters Mr. Weevle, who now works for him. He is awaiting Mr. Guppy. Mr. Snagsby is concerned that his current employee lives in the same place where his former employee Nemo used to live. They talk, and as soon as Mr. Snagsby leaves, Mr. Guppy appears.

Mr. Krook has not yet learned how to read, and wants Mr. Weevle to learn the content of the letters he stole from Nemo. At twelve at night, Mr. Weevle is to meet him, take the letters, and give him the general idea of them. With the help of Mr. Guppy, he is to substitute the bundle of letters for a false one. Mr. Weevle enters the empty room of Mr. Krook. He runs back, and bring his friend. They find Mr. Krook dead near the smoldering fire. His death is determined to be due to spontaneous combustion.

Chapter 29-32 Analysis

In the autumn Chesney Wold becomes particularly frightening, with ghosts being ever more present. Mr. Tulkinghorn is a frequent visitor.

Lady Dedlock fears Mr. Tulkinghor,n who is seems to be in want of power, money, or her. Mr. Guppy tells Lady Dedlock that Esther reminds him of her while Esther's birth is surrounded by mystery. Brought up by Miss Barbary, she in fact is the daughter of Captain Hawdon. He knows that Nemo was Mr. Hawdon and he is to obtain letters that have been found in his possession following his death. Lady Dedlock is unsure what to make of it and wants to pay Mr. Guppy. She realizes that her daughter has not died as she thought. Lady Dedlock is aware that her secret can be exposed through Mr. Tulkinghorn's prying into her matters.

While Richard is away Mrs. Woodcourt visits Bleak House. She makes Esther aware of the family connections Allan has, such as Ap Kerring, Highland family, the Mac Coorts of Mac Coort and his position. She seems to indicate that her son should marry someone of his own rank. Esther is unsure how to approach her comments, especially that Mrs. Woodcourt seems to be sympathetic towards Esther.

Caddy Jellyby regards Esther as an excellent adviser. She is getting married in a month and wants her and Ada to be her bridesmaids. Esther offers help in preparing for the wedding as Caddy's mother is most interested in her charity work and knows nothing about weddings.

Charley informs Esther that Jo is sick. They both go to see him. He is in delirium, fearing everything while being unable to travel. Esther takes Jo to Bleak House but Mr. Skimpole opposes Jo staying there claiming that the disease, most likely smallpox, may be contagious. Mr. Jarndyce decides to take care of Jo but he disappears at night. Searches bring no result but Charley falls sick. When she recovers, Esther becomes ill, gradually feeling weaker until she finally isolates herself from others so that she does nto spread her illness and asks Charley to look after her. The disease implies that poverty affects not only those at the bottom but it spreads up, paralyzing the entire society.

Mr. Weevle stays at Mr. Krook's place, raising the suspicions of Mr. Snagsby, who is concerned about the coincidence of his employee living in Nemo's room. Mr. Guppy proceeds with advancing his prospects with Esther—nothing will stop him from that. He wants to get hold of the letters that are in Mr. Krook's possession. Mr. Krook wants to profit from their content, but he cannot read. Mr. Weevle is to help him only to hand these letters to Mr. Guppy. Mr. Krook dies before giving letters to Mr. Weevle.

Gradually Mr. Weevle become more opposed to Mr. Guppy's schemes. It is too late and they are also part of the suit now. Such suits connect unlikely people in unlikely manners. Esther's connection with the suit has been arranged by assigning her as a ward to a party in a suit.

Mr. Krook's death can be compared to the self-destruction of chancery. He continues to affect people's lives even after his death, as the letters he held become the subject of extortion attempts.

This section contains 947 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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