Bleak House: 36–“Chesney Wold”

Chapter 36: “Chesney Wold”

Summary: Esther arrives at Chesney Wold and is having a wonderful, relaxing time. She sees herself in the mirror for the first time and is not totally depressed. Then she runs into Lady Dedlock, who admits to being her mother and tells her to keep it a secret, but she’s allowed to tell John J. Then Ada comes and Esther hides, but Ada doesn’t even seem to notice her disfigurement.

Reaction: Still no real description of what this disfigurement is…It’s bad enough that children comment that she’s not pretty anymore, but not so bad that they run away from her. I just wish I knew. Oh, and I was surprised Lady Dedlock sprung her secret so fast. But now we know for sure that Tulkinghorn is the big baddie, at least according to my Lady.

Prediction: John J. will hear of the secret and will give some wise advice–also something having to do with an East wind will be involved. Tulkinghorn is going to find out the truth soon if he doesn’t know it already, and then things should get interesting.

Why This Book Is a Classic: Discovering your lineage makes you consider killing yourself. I doubt many modern characters would think of suicide after learning they’re a bastard.

Our Lesson: You know, Dickens hasn’t made many examples out of people for a while. We’ve really settled into things now, which is good as I’m over halfway through. But how about: if you’re totally sweet and nice on the inside, maybe your outside appearance really doesn’t matter.


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