Bleak House: Esther’s Narrative

Chapter 17: “Esther’s Narrative”

Summary: They are told that Richard does not seem that dedicated or interested in his studies to be a surgeon. When they ask Richard about it he admits it is true and thinks maybe he’d like to be a lawyer more–yes, he’d definitely prefer to be a lawyer. Then Jarndyce tells Esther about how her aunt asked him to sponsor her and become her guardian and how he’d agreed and watched over her. Finally we see more of Woodcourt, and Esther gets some flowers from a “secret” admirer.

Reaction: Esther is so in love with Woodcourt. It’s cute how she’s afraid to admit her feelings aloud or even go to any extra lengths to describe her interactions with him. There is some really great writing in this book (of course). And I’m liking Richard less with every passing scene.

Prediction: I think that Ada should turn out to be a secret villain mastermind behind all sorts of nefarious deeds and will end up getting all the inheritance money for herself…but I don’t see that actually happening. She’s such a weak and annoying character.

Why This Book Is a Classic: Great writing that shows off really great characterization–in this case Esther, but with each character portrayed there is a completely different style. Dickens really knows what he’s doing.

Our Lesson: Even the dutiful girls can fall in love. I don’t see Esther doing anything rash because of it, and she certainly won’t drop any of her housekeeper tasks unless forced by Jarndyce, but the shy girls who think no one notices them do sometimes get noticed.

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