Bleak House: “A Turn of the Screw”

Chapter 34: “A Turn of the Screw”

Summary: Mr. George receives a letter informing him that his debt is to be collected immediately. His loan has been cosigned by Mr. Bagnet, so George is concerned that Bagnet’s family will suffer because of this. He and Bagnet go to Smallweed to ask about it, and he tells them to get lost and go see Tulkinghorn. Tulkinghorn doesn’t have any sympathy for them, but after Mr. George agrees to hand over Hawdon’s letter, Tulkinghorn agrees to give George an extension and to eliminate Bagnet’s name from the debt.

Reaction: It was obvious what was coming–it’s a good old moral dilemma: save a friend or stay honorable. I think even George knew what was coming. It was a good chapter. Such a variety of types of characters showing through–great reading!

Prediction: I hope we get to see what this letter says (Hawdon’s last instructions for George). I’m pretty sure we will. Also, I’m really interested to see what Mrs. Rouncewell was doing at Tulkinghorn’s. Does he have her spying on Lady Dedlock? Is she appealing to him for the sake of her grandson’s love life?

Why This Book Is a Classic: As I mentioned before, there are moral dilemmas that could have been straight out of Shakespeare. Love or honor. Choose the least of two evils. It’s a device that comes up over and over, in older works and modern ones too.

Our Lesson: Old army buddies are great–but not great to risk your family’s financial future for. Don’t do it, no matter how much money they think their shooting gallery will make.


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