Chapter 3: “A Progress”
Summary: Now in first person we hear a tale about a girl, Esther, who grew up with her godmother, who was such a good person that she constantly made Esther feel like the scum of the earth. Then this godmother died and Esther found out she had a relative who got her sent to a school where she was both educated and helped out with the other children, who loved her. She thought she had the best life ever–and then her relative sent for her, and it turns out she and two other children were now wards of Jarndyce and were off on a new adventure.
Reaction: Much better. Thank you, Mr. Dickens. I’m so glad my prediction came true for once. Esther isn’t the brightest candle in the blackout, but she’s likable, and thank god she buried that creepy confessor baby doll in the backyard.
Prediction: I expect Esther to continue to misconstrue everyone else’s characters and intentions and look forward to guessing those intentions on my own.
Why This Book Is a Classic: The classic tale of a young girl with a terrible not-actually-her-family, sent off to boarding school and being beloved, then moving on to bigger adventures and probably finding a husband (like Jane Eyre).
Why a Modern Audience Might Like It: Who doesn’t like a cute little girl? She’s not all that bright, but at least she admits it, and she’s so humble that she ends up making herself look smarter than she gives herself credit for.