Bleak House: “Jo’s Will”

Chapter 47: “Jo’s Will”

Summary: Allan Woodcourt finds Jo a place to stay. First he visits Mrs. Flite, who takes them to Mr. George, who is happy to take Jo in. Jo reveals that Mr. Bucket had been the one to take him and chase him out of town. Woodcourt then takes Jo to see Mr. Jarndyce to explain what had happened. Jo feels terrible for getting Esther sick, so asks Mr. Snagsby to write a “big” apology letter. Then…

Reaction: Oh, Charles Dickens! How could you! I can’t believe Jo dies! Okay, I actually can believe it. He was a tragic character to begin with, and Dickens worked hard to make us love him and feel sorry for him so that his death will leave an impact. Besides making me tear up when I already had a stuffy nose (not fun), in a nap room in front of all the children, I might add (who were at least mostly asleep)–I loved seeing all these characters come together for Jo. All characters I love and none I can’t stand. It was a good chapter.

Prediction: Maybe Jo brought these characters together for a reason. Mr. George and Jarndyce and Snagsby. I know something good will happen–or at least something interesting–because of it.

Why This Book Is a Classic: Classic tragedy. A homeless boy captures your heart and then rips it out. I’m pretty sure Dickens was a master of this kind of tragedy.

Our Lesson: Be kind to homeless boys but don’t get attached.

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