A major critical anatomy of mid-nineteenth century England, Bleak House shows some signs of concessions to audience taste in the use of pathos, melodrama, and a somewhat strident moralism.
Was the English Court of Chancery as bad as Dickens says? Dickens had experience as a court reporter and witnessed legal practices first hand. Although Chancery had been a longstanding scandal, many people in England were like the lawyer Kenge, who mouths to Mr.
In his book, Charles Dickens as a Legal Historianreprt. Dickens makes use of the history of Chancery for the symbolic thrust of the novel. There were two different court systems. Common law courts used statutory law and precedent to decide cases. The Court of Chancery dealt with equity, or property issues, rather than law and used different principles to arrive at judgments.
In medieval times, because the legal courts were insufficient to deal with all needs, people would petition the King for relief in property settlement, land use, protection from debtors, custody cases, and other such suits.
The King created the position of a Lord Chancellor to hear the petitions and rule on them. The Court of Chancery was presided over originally by clergymen Chancellors, and they passed judgment based on conscience, morals, fairness and equality.
The Court of Chancery, in a way, represented the conscience of the King rather than written laws; its intent was to soften the harshness of the law with flexibility and mercy.
Because the early Chancellors had no training in law, their judgments on matters of equity varied. Eventually, a body of equity law developed, requiring lawyers. Cases could be mired in detail.
The origin of Chancery in petitions to the crown for justice explains why Dickens addresses the Queen when the boy Jo dies: The court system, according to Dickens, had abandoned its moral roots of looking after the welfare of the people, and was corrupt and self-serving. Because equity became as rigid as statutory law, as pictured in the tiresome procedures in Bleak House, rather than based on the idea of mercy and conscience, there was no reason for it to be separate from the legal courts.
What is the symbolic importance of the character of Tulkinghorn? George, and the crazed Hortense. He has a finger in every pie, like the Court of Chancery: He knows everyone and can intimidate Snagsby, Krook, and Guppy.
He uses Bucket to keep an eye on Jo and the family secrets. Sir Leicester, proud of Tulkinghorn as his faithful retainer, innocently replies when asked if the lawyer is rich: So he does—a mere financial stake. It foreshadows the end of his nasty games, pointing a finger at his wrongdoing.
Tulkinghorn, however, cannot read the allegory; like Krook, who is illiterate; like Chancery, unable to interpret the case. Tulkinghorn has created a monster that will turn on him. Hortense, of whom he is so contemptuous and threatens with prison, takes her revenge and shoots him.
It is fitting that it is a woman, because Tulkinghorn hates women, and that is the reason he takes special delight in shaming Lady Dedlock.
As Tulkinghorn sits in his rooms, sipping his expensive wine, controlling the lives of people, so does Krook sit in his shop, drinking cheap gin, sitting on the fortunes and fates of others. Both control by gathering secrets.Bleak House: Essay Q&A, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was first published in It was a coming of age play that dealt with the lives and anxieties of the bourgeoisie women in Victorian Norway. Paul Kingsnorth is a writer and poet living in Cumbria, England.
|Bleak House||A bas-relief bust of Poe adorns the marble and granite monument which is simply inscribed with the birth and death dates of Poe although his birthdate is wrongMaria, and Virginia who, inwas reinterred with her husband and mother. All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream.|
|Essay Topics||The fog seems thickest in the vicinity of the High Court of Chancery. The court, now in session, is hearing an aspect of the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce.|
He is the author of several books, including the poetry collection Kidland and his fictional debut The Wake, winner of the Gordon Burn Prize and the Bookseller Book of the Year Award.
Kingsnorth is the cofounder and director of the Dark Mountain Project, a network of writers, artists, and thinkers. Studying for Bleak House?
We have tons of study questions for you here, all completely free. Bleak House was first published as a serial and appeared in book form in at the height of Charles Dickens’s career. Preceded by Martin Chuzzlewit () and followed by Hard Times.
Symbolism in Bleak House; Study Help; Quiz; Essay Questions; Cite this Literature Note; Summary and Analysis Chapter 1 - In Chancery Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List. On a raw November afternoon, London is enshrouded in heavy fog made harsher by chimney smoke.
The fog seems thickest in the vicinity of the High Court of Chancery.