The infinitely more interesting latter category consists of life-or-death questions such as: What on earth is the stupid Jarndyce suit about at all? Who is the second Jarndyce? And how can a goddamned suit have wards?! Also, can Esther become any more gay for Ada? And did Dickens do that intentionally, like Victor Hugo with Enjolras and Grantaire (you will never convince me otherwise of Hugo!)? (Probably not is the sad answer to the last two questions).
Anyway, this seems to be turning into one of these long books with dozens of narrative threads which all connect in the end, or at least I hope so because at present the only narrative I am really interested in is Esther's. Esther. I don't quite know what to think of her. On the one hand she is mildly annoying with the sheer amount of her modesty (and I am still not totally convinced that this is not absolutely appropriate for a woman in Dickens's mind), but on the other hand she seems to be pretty badass and I like how psychologically accurate her horrible childhood translates into her adult behaviour.
Something else I don't quite understand about Esther is the significance of her getting the keys to Bleak House. Is it an honour because it means that Mr Jarndyce trusts her so much that he sort of makes her Lady of the house? Or does it mean she is something like a housekeeper?
Oh, and can we take a moment to contemplate that this might be the book with the best minor characters ever? I mean Mr Boythorn with his carnary is clearly someone everyone would want in their life and Miss Jellyby is awesome not only because of her name, but also because she is a wonderfully sulky, well-drawn character. And this book might or might not be instilling a life-long fear of charitable philantropists in me.
However, what I've been noticing apart from the fantastic characters is the vast amount of symbolism concerning birds in Bleak House. Good, my cover has birds on it so I might be a tiny little bit oversensitive on the matter, but still: little Esther has a caged bird, the mad lady has dozens of them in her apartment and Mr Boythorn even included his carnary in his will. The obvious meaning would be freedom, but that doesn't make much sense in Esther's case at least, so I am curious how this will be developed further.
And to conclude I need to talk about Guppy and how he is the ultimate proof that Dickens was a time traveller and based his works at least partly on my life.
So I once fancied a guy who we actually called Guppy (long story). And because I was young and dumb (which I am still, but shh!) I had a crush on him without really knowing him very well and was pining like Esther on Ada, until he behaved eerily much like his literary counterpart and made a very dramatic, very overdone declaration - to one of my best friends. I can't even tell you how glad I was not to be in her position as my tender feelings dissipated at light velocity and I was left with a sheer unbearable amount of secondhand embarrassment!
And with this romantic story onwards to chapters 12-17!