Novels of the Eighteen-Forties

By Kathleen Tillotson | Go to book overview

APPENDIX II

Dickens's Letter Outlining Dombey and Son

I WILL now go on to give you an outline of my immediate intentions in reference to Dombey. I design to show Mr. D. with that one idea of the Son taking firmer and firmer possession of him, and swelling and bloating his pride to a prodigious extent. As the boy begins to grow up, I shall show him quite impatient for his getting on, and urging his masters to set him great tasks, and the like. But the natural affection of the boy will turn towards the despised sister; and I purpose showing her learning all sorts of things, of her own application and determination, to assist him in his lessons: and helping him always. When the boy is about ten years old (in the fourth number), he will be taken ill, and will die; and when he is ill, and when he is dying, I mean to make him turn always for refuge to the sister still, and keep the stern affection of the father at a distance. So Mr. Dombey--for all his greatness, and for all his devotion to the child--will find himself at arms' length from him even then; and will see that his love and confidence are all bestowed upon his sisters whom Mr. Dombey has used--and so has the boy himself too, for that matter--as a mere convenience and handle to him. The death of the boy is a death-blow, of course, to all the father's schemes and cherished hopes; and 'Dombey and Son', as Miss Tox will say at the end of the numbers 'is a Daughter after all'. . . . From that time, I purpose changing his feeling of indifference and uneasiness towards his daughter into a positive hatred. For he will always remember how the boy had his arm round her neck when he was dying, and whispered to her, and would take things only from her hand, and never thought of him. . . . At the same time, I shall change her feeling towards him for one of a greater desire to love him, and to be loved by him; en-

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Novels of the Eighteen-Forties
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Contents xi
  • Note on Editions and References xii
  • Abbreviated Titles - Of Works Frequently Referred To xiii
  • Part I Introductory 1
  • Part II Four Novels 157
  • Mary Barton 202
  • Vanity Fair 224
  • Jane Eyre 257
  • Appendix I 314
  • Appendix II 316
  • Appendix III 318
  • Index 319
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