Bleak House: “Deportment”

Chapter 14: “Deportment”

Summary: Richard has gone off to be a surgeon, and Esther and Ada check in on the Jellybeans. The oldest Jellybean daughter is fed up with philanthropy and plans to secretly wed her dance teacher. This dance teacher, Prince, has a father who believes his deportment is more important than anything else. Then they all go to see that strange old woman, Mrs. Flite, who apparently lives in the same building the opium poisoning had been in. She’s doing well. She has a bird named Spinach. There is a second cryptic mention of Mr. Woodcourt.

Reaction: I kind of thought before that maybe the place that death had been in sounded familiar, but I was having a lot of trouble reading that section, so I missed some important details like that. Luckily I have been caught up. I love that all this lady’s birds are named after virtues and vices except the last one, Spinach. Maybe she thinks spinach is a vice (or a virtue?). Or maybe there’s another definition I don’t know about. Or it’s just another weird name in this weird name book. Luckily with all these weird names I don’t have too much trouble remembering who’s who.

Prediction: I’m still waiting for the mystery part to kick in. I’m sure it will have to do with this Woodcourt guy. I also think Esther is going to end up liking him (as much as she is capable–I think she’s always going to be more into duty and care of others than getting caught up in her own emotions).

Why This Book Is a Classic: Secret marriages always make a book more interesting–and this sort of marriage is only possible in a more classic time period, since now, at least in our society, parents don’t have any (official, at least) control over who their children marry.

Our Lesson: Just because you dress and act and move like a rich, privileged guy and hang out where other rich, privileged guys do, doesn’t mean you are one–especially if your wife dies working to support you and your son is likely to do the same. So get a job and act your station!


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