Chapter 8: “Covering a Multitude of Sins”
Summary: Living in a fancy house that’s in the middle of a very public, very long lawsuit gets Bleak House a lot of attention from solicitors and old time PACs. For some reason, Esther is curious about these obnoxious people, and when one comes to visit, she and Ada agree to follow her on her mission to visit the poor and watch this woman shout at them to change their ways. After the unwelcome sermon, Esther and Ada notice that something is wrong with the poor family’s baby–it is dead. The mourn for it and even return to try to help out.
Reaction: Esther will just follow anyone who asks her to, won’t she. Even when the children of this awful woman (with a great name, though–Pardiggle) pinch and kick her because they have to give all their allowances to charity, Esther just keeps walking and doesn’t say anything.
Prediction: I’m guessing Esther will continue to walk into awkward situation after awkward situation just because she can’t seem to say no. She seems to make the best out of them, though.
Why This Book Is a Classic: It shows real poverty and not just an idealized version–there’s drunkenness, filth, brutality, and early death. Dickens is definitely trying to make a statement.
Our Lesson: If you’re a woman who’s devoted your life to charity, you shouldn’t ignore your family, but you shouldn’t force them to help either or they’ll hate you and everyone else. Maybe you shouldn’t have a family and just be a nun.