Bleak House: “Nurse and Patient”

Chapter 31: “Nurse and Patient”

Summary: In this chapter, Charley and Esther visit the poor women, Jenny and Liz, who are caring for Jo who’s gotten very sick. Jo is hallucinating and thinks Esther is the lady (Lady Dedlock) who made him take her around. Since Jo has nowhere else to go, Esther and Charley take him back with them. They get him somewhere to stay for the night but by morning he’s run off. Before they’ve even had time to look, Charley gets sick. Esther takes care of her and then gets sick herself. At the end of the chapter Esther has gone blind.

Reaction: Yay! More Jo! And more separate pieces are being laced together. It was actually a very exciting chapter, and I loved the cliffhanger ending–“I’m blind!” On a side note, I’ve found that my most productive and enjoyable reading is when I’m at work (sitting in a nap room–not when I’m supposed to be teaching/actively watching the children). I think it’s because when I’m at home I have 50 other things I still want to get to–or to get to bed, but at work I’m in a quiet dark room and can just sit and enjoy what I’m reading. That’s probably why my writing time (my only writing time pretty much) is during my lunch hour.

Prediction: I know Jo will be okay, and Esther, of course. Her loved ones will care for her, and this blindness will end up being a way to further the plot–maybe it will even get her back in contact with Lady Dedlock.

Why This Book Is a Classic: Classic illness. No one really knows anything about sickness, but stupid Skimpole (who apparently used to be a doctor–I hate him even more for now being such a loser) actually gives them the best advice. They have to let the fevers run their course instead of just popping a Z-Pak. Anymore something like a bad fever is not the most realistic plot device.

Our Lesson: Don’t take strange sick boys into your home. You will regret it. (Though, due to some foreshadowing and general suspicions, I think, in this case is will lead to some great things–life changing ones, at least. Plus Jo wouldn’t have lived otherwise…) So, amended: Take strange sick boys into your home at your own risk. It might be life changing, or it might just end your life.


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