Happy Monday, my friends!
I hope you had a fun weekend. We are back to our routines today and recovering from a busy, fun week. I’m so behind on reviews again (what is it about reviews that makes them easy to get behind on?) So here I am starting the long climb.
I am excited to share my thoughts on the second part of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. I am loving this novel! It is refreshing to read a classic that is so engaging!
Frequently, I’m glad that I have read my big classics in the order that I have. Starting with War and Peace was a good idea because, although it was long and difficult at times, every long novel I read after it feels so much shorter! And putting Les Miserables before Little Dorrit makes the latter feel even quicker.
- I love Dickens’ style! He is witty and descriptive. I find myself laughing at his humor as I read.
- It’s been really helpful to have seen the BBC miniseries before reading this novel because it helps keep the subplots and numerous characters straight in my mind. It’s been long enough that I don’t remember how everything connects in the end which makes it exciting to discover again!
- Still preferring my Kindle app for reading this one. It’s quick and easy. Additionally, I’ve made a goal to read one chapter a day from Little Dorrit and that has me making great progress. Each chapter is about 1% of the book so I’m making regular progress!
In the second part of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, the separate characters and their lives begin to connect with each other. Arthur Clennam becomes Doyce’s partner; Amy begins work for Flora; Cavalletto is adopted by the people of Bleeding Heart Yard; we meet the Merdle family; Pet Meagles married Henry Gowan; and Pancks seems connected to them all. The climax of this section is the release of Little Dorrit’s father from the Marshalsea debtor’s prison when he inherits a large sum of money and takes his family away from their former life, associations, and familiarity.
There are so many subplots in this part of the novel that are not yet connected. While I am sure Dickens will bring these varying characters together at some point, right now things seem disjointed and disconnected. How do they all fit together? I can see some of them connecting as I get into the next part of the novel. My favorite plot is connected with the Dorrit family and their change of fortune. I love the pure, innocent joy of Amy as she learns of her father’s ability to leave the prison. And I find the other reactions to the news from her father and siblings to be so fascinating. They seem entitled to the change and want to shift their identities entirely.
Dickens continues his witty, clever commentary on the problems of society in this section. With the complexities and mind games of the Circumlocution Office and the unfair rents and living conditions of the poor, Dickens shows there is much to be improved in his London. However, he continues to be fairly quick to read. While some chapters have more description of conditions or politics, they are small compared to the lengthy discussions in other classics I’ve read.
I continue to love many of the same characters. Amy is definitely a favorite, as is Arthur for his good intentions and determined work ethic. I also really enjoyed Pancks in this section and his blunt, rough but kind interactions with others. The tenants of Bleeding Heart Yard are so easy to love–especially sweet Cavalletto and the Plornishes. Flora makes me laugh out loud because she is so awkward and ridiculous “Oh Arthur…Doyce and Clennam much more proper” Ha! I felt more sorry for the Meagles in this part. And I don’t understand why Pet wanted to marry lazy Henry Gowan. Still not sure of all that Blandois intends to do but he sure is everywhere.
Themes I am enjoying/pondering:
- How is a reputation created, maintained, and/or changed? Mr Dorrit is revered in the Marshalsea but so far is seeking to bury that connection in part 3.
- What is reality? How do we define what reality is?
- How does one discover truth?
- The importance of status. No matter the situation, one needs the correct amount of status to maintain their reputation, whether in the prison, neighborhood, government, or family.
- Friendship vs stewardship. Amy seems to make friends very easily and connect with people of a variety of backgrounds. Her father is very connected as well but maintains a distance over those he interacts with.
Things that are tricky and/or confusing:
- Some of the legal and political jargon is dense and a bit boring. But that doesn’t hinder the story much for me.
- There are a lot of characters in this novel that seem of some importance. It will be interesting to see how they all connection.
I’m already well into the next section of this novel. And the changes and interactions between characters are fascinating and intricate. I can’t wait to figure out how it all connects!