Dickens and the Daughter of the House

By Hilary M. Schor | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN:
Our Mutual Friend and the
daughter's book of the dead

Many of the stories we have been telling in this book reach a bitter end in Our Mutual Friend. The attempt to locate value in the golden heroine; the attempt to win the daughter a portion of her own; the attempt to free the novel from the darkest toils of the inheritance plot - all, in Our Mutual Friend, notoriously come to dust. Not surprisingly, the end of the novel has garnered as much opprobrium as the conclusion of any Dickens novel, and reflects the problems of closure these final chapters have been tracing: what would be enough; who profits; who renounces; and what is to be done? All problems of closure - value, reward, and the promise of future happiness - seem concentrated in this novel, and seem, moreover, to topple unpleasantly on readers' heads, like so much matter in a finally overfull closet.

The novel begins in an equally concentrated way: a father and a daughter row a small boat across the Thames “In these times of ours”; behind them they tow the body of a drowned man. 1 The plot will expand from these central elements, but it will not add to them: in the course of the novel, two daughters will choose between two fathers and pledge absolute loyalty to them; two daughters will cross the water to find happiness; and two daughters will marry men who have been drowned and found dead. They will find happiness through labor, but they will neither speak nor write their own plots — in contrast to all the other legacies of Dickens's oeuvre, theirs will come through death and not through reading. But the novel will find its true inheritance by turning these daughters into wives: the proper end of this novel is to bring a dead man to life by teaching him to say one magic word, and that word is “wife. ” The daughter, in this book, has no word of her own, and only by renouncing plotting can she fill her place; only by becoming property can she inherit; only by the absolute alienation of property can any be held on to; and only by the deepest distrust of the magic of fictions can Dickens write his last novel.

-178-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Dickens and the Daughter of the House
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 232

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.