Bleak House By Charles Dickens Summary and Analysis Chapter 19 - Moving On

It is now summer. The Snagsbys entertain their minister and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Chadband. Outside the Snagsbys' house are Jo and a policeman who insists that the boy "move on." Jo maintains he has nowhere to move on to. As Mr. Guppy arrives on the scene, Jo is asked to explain the money found on his person. The boy says that it is the remains of a gold sovereign paid to him for showing a lady where Mr. Nemo lodged, worked, and was buried. Questioning Jo, Mr. Guppy learns the entire story. Mrs. Chadband says that in her younger years Guppy's firm (Kenge and Carboy) put her in charge of Esther Summerson, then a young child. The Snagsbys provide Jo with some food, after which he "moves on."


Summary

Analysis

Here the comic and the pathetic are intermingled — little Jo providing the pathos and the Chadbands the comedy. Mr. Chadhand, whom Dickens satirizes, is one of the book's numerous eccentrics but is also a type: He represents the loud, voluble, but empty and rather hypocritical sermonizer, a species not rare in Dickens' era.

Dickens keeps two important threads running here: the mystery of Esther's identity and the mystery of Lady Dedlock's pursuit of the facts about Nemo. Little Jo's "moving on" from one nowhere to another nowhere continues the motif of childhood sorrow.

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