Dickens’ Bleak House–part 2

The recurring thematic patterns of his serious novels:

Early mistakes in life usually based on passion
Secrets and Guilt–trying to make a new better life
Information (many characters’ chief motivation and fears)
Control and manipulation of others (often via knowledge of others’ information and secrets)
Evil (those characters who control and manipulate others for their own pleasure and amusement, often hurting, abusing, and ruining others’ lives)
Cruelty and Abuse (women and children as favorite targets)
Suffering (of innocents, victims) and sometimes Healing/Recovery and Forgiveness
Death (some suicidal, others circumstantial) or Happy Endings (prosperity, love, marriage)


Of course, the parallels abound with our own time–Dickens’ timelessness. What matters most to the author is the individual–the kind of person he/she is, his/her characters and their values, and their¬†treatments of¬†others as a means to ends or as ends in themselves. The latter is always central to understanding Dickens characters and assessing their relative goodness or harmful influence.

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