79 pages 2 hours read

Charles Dickens

Bleak House

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1853

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Important Quotes

Quotation Mark Icon

“He is surrounded by a mysterious halo of family confidences, of which he is known to be the silent depository.”

(Chapter 2, Page 16)

Tulkinghorn is respected and feared because he knows so many secrets about the English elite. He functions as a living embodiment of the legal system and societal norms, policing decorum through his existence alone. The description of his “halo of family confidences” indicates that his power and authority derive from the trust placed in him by the same rich and powerful people who fear him (16). The irony of this elevated status is that he is ultimately murdered by a disgruntled and unemployed servant.

Quotation Mark Icon

“Her natural cruelty is sharpened by a jealous fear of their regaining their liberty.”

(Chapter 5, Page 64)

The cat preying on any birds who escape from their cages is a metaphor for the dangers of the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case. The characters are trapped by their obsession with the potential inheritance and preyed upon by lawyers and advisors—people who profit from the case’s continuation, and who eventually drain the inheritance of all its money.

Quotation Mark Icon

“I am always conscious of an uncomfortable sensation now and then when the wind is blowing in the east.”

(Chapter 6, Page 72)

Jarndyce’s fear of the East Wind symbolizes his lack of control. As a claimant in the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case, he has given up any hope of the case ever being resolved. This huge part of his life is entirely out of his control and seems to have a corrosive and corrupting effect on all those around him.