CliffsNotes on Dickens' Bleak House

CliffsNotes on Dickens' Bleak House

CliffsNotes on Dickens' Bleak House

CliffsNotes on Dickens' Bleak House

Excerpt

Sir Leicester Dedlock, an idle, fashionable aristocrat, maintains his ancestral home in rural Lincolnshire and also a place in London. Lady Dedlock, his wife, “has beauty still” at or near fifty but is proud and vain. She keeps a secret unknown even to Sir Leicester. When she was young, she bore an illegitimate child, a girl, to her lover, Captain Hawdon. What she does not know, however, is that the child is still alive. This daughter, now an adult, was given the name Esther Summerson by the aunt who raised her. When the aunt (Miss Barbary) dies, kindly, retired John Jarndyce was appointed Esther’s guardian. At the time of the story, Esther is twenty and is traveling to Mr. Jarndyce’s home, Bleak House (which is cheerful and happy — not bleak). On the journey, she has the companionship of his other two wards, Ada Clare and Richard Carstone. Ada, Richard, and Mr. Jarndyce are parties to a complicated, long-standing, and by now obscure legal suit called Jarndyce and Jarndyce. Various aspects of this entangled suit are heard from time to time in the High Court of Chancery in London. The issues involve, among other things, the apportionment of an inheritance.

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