Bleak House: “Closing In”

Chapter 48: “Closing In”

Summary: Lady Dedlock decides to send her beloved maid, Rosa, away so she can marry–but mostly so she won’t be caught up in any scandal in the event of her affair being discovered. Tulkinghorn learns of this and considers it a break from their agreement. He seems prepared to out her. Then he returns home, even though clocks tell him not to, and he is murdered–shot through the heart.

Reaction: I will call this chapter Dickens’ attempt to make up for killing Jo. Because this book really needed a murder, and of anyone, Tulkinghorn really needed killing. Though I’m not sure why the baddest bad guy was killed off so soon. Where will all the tension be now?

Prediction: The way I see this going is that Tulkinghorn was a big secret-keeper–he prided himself on knowing secrets to get him money and power, and now that he’s dead his secrets will start to come out, which will be worse for our characters than his knowing the secrets and keeping them to himself.

Why This Book Is a Classic:Strange foreshadowing. I don’t think any modern books would go on and on about clocks chiming “don’t go home.”

Our Lesson: If clocks tell you not to go home, maybe you shouldn’t.

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