Study Guide

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 14

By Charles Dickens

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Book 2, Chapter 14

Taking Advice

  • So, lots of congratulations all around for Sparkler getting this awesome job. And by awesome job, we mean a fat paycheck for twiddling his thumbs all day.
  • Mrs. Merdle makes it out to be like Sparkler is doing everyone a favor by working in the city, when he'd much rather be in the country.
  • Gowan is totally furious that he didn't get appointed to anything and makes it his business to praise Sparkler and draw him out at parties so that by talking he will demonstrate his idiocy. It works really well.
  • Fanny is kind of screwed, since everyone knows that Sparkler has the hots for her – and now that he's got this job for life, it seems like it's time to put her ring finger where her mouth is.
  • She decides to have a confab with Amy.
  • Fanny's points are: 1) Life with the Dorrits sucks because, despite all the money, Dorrit and Tip are still pretty vulgar. 2) She doesn't want to have Mrs. General for a stepmom. And mostly 3) if she marries Sparkler she can spend her life getting back at Mrs. Merdle.
  • Amy is totally horrified and says that true love means total submission to the person you love. OK, masochist, not everyone is into that.
  • Fanny is all, um, that's not for me.
  • Then Fanny gets carried away by fantasies of how awesomely she could stick it to Mrs. Merdle. For one thing, she would make her mother-in-law immediately seem old just by being nearby and younger.
  • Amy is sad to hear all of this and kind of argues that maybe marrying someone out of spite isn't the best way to live.
  • But Fanny doesn't really listen to her.
  • Amy then notices that Fanny seems nicer to Sparkler all of a sudden. And Mrs. Merdle keeps having to begrudgingly admit that Fanny is beautiful.
  • Finally Sparkler stops speaking in public without first looking at Fanny for permission. Whenever Gowan tries to draw him out now, Fanny instead makes some insulting comeback and nips that whole thing in the bud.
  • One day, the deal is done – Fanny and Sparkler are engaged.
  • He gives Amy a mangled little speech about how nice it will be to have her for a sister. It's actually very sweet.
  • After he leaves, Amy starts to cry, and Fanny does too a little. But that's the last time she ever cries about her path in life.

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 14 Study Group

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