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Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit

by Charles Dickens

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 27 Summary

The Pupil of the Marshalsea

  • Arthur is sad. Super duper sad.
  • Also, he's thinking a bunch about Little Dorrit and how awesome she was and how nearly every good decision he ever made was under her influence.
  • Chivery shows up, asks if Arthur needs anything, tells him that John Chivery will bring up his bags (totally unusual), and then asks Arthur not to mind if John is acting kind of weird.
  • John brings up his bags, with this sort of passive-aggressive niceness, but refuses to shake his hand.
  • Arthur is totally confused and keeps asking why John is mad at him. John keeps saying that he's not mad and then rolling his eyes and acting angry. Oh, total drama.
  • John then tells him that the furniture in the room is some of Dorrit's old stuff. Arthur kind of pets a nearby table.
  • Then John tells Arthur about visiting Dorrit when he was in London. In John's version, even though Dorrit thought it was an imposition for John to come, he still acted very nicely... until John asked about Little Dorrit, that is.
  • Arthur is all, oh, OK.
  • John invites Arthur to have some tea.
  • In John's room, Arthur is sort of woozy. Even though John comes back with some yummy stuff, Arthur can't make himself eat.
  • Suddenly John launches into a long speech that makes very little sense but sounds super-poetic and lyrical. It's all about vortexes of feelings and trampled-on emotions.
  • Arthur can't make heads or tails out of whatever is going on.
  • Finally John lays it all out there: dude, Amy is obviously totally in love with you!
  • Arthur is floored and shocked. He somehow gets back to his room and starts combing all his memories and feelings.
  • He realizes that: 1) He is not really an old man. 2) He totally told himself to not fall in love with Amy because she owed him so much that it would have been taking advantage of her. And 3) he kissed her for real that time that she was passed out – way more for real than if she had been conscious. Whoa.
  • At this point the Plornishes come to visit and bring some food.
  • They are really sad to see Arthur in prison. Old Nandy is apparently also quite sad. Mr. Baptist would be sad if he knew, but he's still away on Arthur's errand to find Blandois.
  • Mrs. Plornish then rubs some salt in the wound by talking about how the silver lining is that Amy isn't there to see any of this.
  • Arthur agrees, especially since if she had been with him, they would have been back in prison together.
  • John Chivery, meanwhile, finally gets over Amy through the mental healing brought about by being nice to his rival. (There's an awesome symmetry there somewhere between Arthur trying to be nice to Gowan, his rival for Pet, and John Chivery being nice to Arthur, his rival for Amy. Especially since, in both cases, the woman doesn't love the guy who's being nice to the rival.)
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