Bleak House: “Mr. Snagsby Sees It All”

Chapter 25: “Mr. Snagsby Sees It All”

Summary: Ever since helping Det. Bucket, Snagsby has been on edge about all these mysteries going on. He knows he is part of an important secret, even if he doesn’t know what that secret is, and he’s worried it’s going to blow up on him. His wife notices his uneasiness and is suspicious. With the help of Mr. Chaband, she tracks down Jo, who she believes is Snagsby’s secret son, and has Chaband do a sort of a church service in her home. Jo falls asleep, Snagsby sweats buckets, and Mrs. Snagsby goes into a fit. She’s not so out of it that she misses her husband paying off Jo and telling him never to mention that mysterious woman to anyone.

Reaction: I really liked this chapter. It was very funny and interesting. I like that Snagsby. He’s a spineless man, but he’s a good man. It’s funny how his wife is portrayed–the narrator says that he loves her and worries about her when he’s gone for too long, but I think he’s more worried about what she’ll do to him, even if he won’t admit it to himself. And Jo–any chapter with Jo is a winner to me. When he fell asleep during the sermon I laughed out loud–even though I was sitting in my preschool’s nap room full of sleeping children.

Prediction: Obviously this secret will explode, and Snagsby and Jo are still right in the middle of it. Mrs. Snagsby is getting herself there too with all her nosiness. By the way, exploding secrets reminded me that I still haven’t seen any spontaneous combustion that was promised. I’ve already started a list in my head of characters I’d like to see burst into flames–Mrs. Snagsby and Chaband being two, though Skimpole tops them both.

Why This Book Is a Classic: A woman is so overcome with emotion that she goes into a fit. Classic literature is all about swooning women.

Our Lesson: If you’re going to try to keep a secret from your spouse, don’t go mentioning it to someone in the house. Nosy spouses have ears everywhere–Mr. Snagsby should have known that.


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