Study Guide

Little Dorrit Book 1, Chapter 22

By Charles Dickens

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Book 1, Chapter 22

A Puzzle    

  • Arthur visits the Marshalsea all the time, although Dorrit is really starting to dislike him. Why? Because he keeps not giving the old man any money. Really. The nerve.
  • One day Clennam is waylaid by Mrs. Chivery, who wants to show him her son John.
  • Ever since Little Dorrit turned him down, John Chivery has been a shell of a man (well, a shell of a boy, really) – totally depressed all the time.
  • According to Mrs. Chivery, Little Dorrit actually is totally into John but won't marry him because she feels so much duty and responsibility toward her family.
  • Arthur is taken aback – he's never thought about Little Dorrit as a woman, let alone one who might have romantic or sexual feelings for anyone. Nice little bit of infantilizing right there.
  • But he says he'll try to figure out what the deal is and fix the situation if possible.
  • He goes out and meets Little Dorrit walking around.
  • She says she feels guilty whenever she walks around outside the prison since Dorrit can't. Yeesh. It's a like a cross between survivor guilt and Stockholm syndrome.
  • Maggy runs into them.  She's been sent on an errand by Dorrit and Tip to deliver some begging letters to Arthur.
  • Arthur sends Dorrit back money, but none for Tip.
  • Little Dorrit guesses what the letters were and freaks out in embarrassment, but Arthur tells her it's cool.  She then says she needs to go home. Arthur asks her to stop calling the prison her home. To which she is all, OK, well, what place should I call home?
  • After she leaves, Arthur wonders why she was so much more concerned this time about the begging. He thinks it might be because she really is into John Chivery. Did we mention that Arthur is a bit slow on the uptake where chicks are concerned?

Little Dorrit Book 1, Chapter 22 Study Group

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