Study Guide

Bleak House Chapter 50

By Charles Dickens

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Chapter 50

Esther's Narrative

  • (Guys, read the chapter title. Obviously Esther is narrating.)
  • Wow, all of a sudden it's birthday season in the novel. Now Ada is about to turn 21. (That means she won't be a minor anymore.)
  • Also, Caddy just had a baby and is now pretty sick. The baby is named Esther, and the grown-up Esther comes every day to take care of Caddy.
  • Jarndyce suggests getting Woodcourt to take a look at her.
  • Esther kind of jumps at the name, but obviously he's a great doctor, and Caddy is their friend. Turns out he's been to dinner at Bleak House without Esther's knowledge.
  • Anyway, Caddy has other visitors too. Mostly totally useless ones.
  • Prince comes, obviously, to check on his wife and daughter. He's cutely helpless.
  • Mrs. Jellyby comes, doesn't listen to anything Caddy says, and just drones on about Africa without caring about her granddaughter.
  • Mr. Turveydrop comes, pretends to be very self-sacrificing for Caddy's sake, then goes back to business as usual.
  • And Mr. Jellyby comes too. He clearly loves his daughter but just sits there and does nothing. He's a passive lump.
  • Slowly, under Woodcourt's care, Caddy starts to get better.
  • Esther notices that something is wrong with Ada. She seems upset or worried or something that Esther can't really pin down. Esther immediately decides that Ada is concerned about Esther marrying Jarndyce, which, as we will find out soon enough, is a big ol' case of projection.
  • Esther decides to chat about her upcoming marriage with Ada and tells her how it's a really good decision. Ada is all, "well, OK."
  • That night Ada goes to sleep still upset by something.

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