Study Guide

Bleak House Chapter 46

By Charles Dickens

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Chapter 46

Stop Him!

  • (Back to the third-person narrator and his righteous indignation.)
  • Woodcourt is back trying to doctor the miserable poor people in Tom-all-Alone's. This is why he doesn't have any money, remember?
  • Walking around, he sees a woman on a stoop with a huge wound on her face. Of course it turns out to be... Jenny! Dickens's world is full of crazy coincidences.
  • Woodcourt is super nice to her – he has an ability to talk to the poor as if they were actual people. Oh yeah, crazy.
  • She's nursing yet another beating from her husband but seems OK.
  • When he's done with her, Woodcourt sees a boy creeping around the corner. Jenny runs after him, yelling, "Stop him!" – and Woodcourt does, thinking maybe he just robbed her.
  • But no. This boy is none other than... Jo.
  • OK, the surprises are not even all that surprising anymore.
  • Woodcourt recognizes him from the inquest, but Jenny knows Jo ran away from Bleak House after being taken in by Esther when he was sick.
  • Woodcourt hears this and is half nauseous, half ready to cry. Jo is patient zero of that horrible disease that disfigured Esther's face.
  • Jo is horrified and sorry that he infected Esther.
  • Still angry, Woodcourt asks Jo why he left that night.
  • Turns out Jo didn't run away at all – he was taken away by... well, we don't know yet, since he just whispers the name to Woodcourt.
  • The guy took him to a hospital and gave him some money to stay far away after he was released (which, considering he is still really sick, shows what hospitals were like back then – pretty much just places for poor people to go to die).
  • He stayed away as long as he could, but now he's run out of money, so he's back at Tom-all-Alone's to die.

Bleak House Chapter 46 Study Group

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