Study Guide

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 31

By Charles Dickens

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Book 2, Chapter 31


  • Mrs. Clennam makes her way to the Marshalsea but gets lost and heckled.
  • John Chivery rescues her, takes her to the prison, and gets Little Dorrit.
  • Amy is floored to see Mrs. Clennam out of her wheelchair. She offers congrats... but Mrs. Clennam is in no mood.
  • Mrs. Clennam asks Amy to read the packet that Blandois had given her.
  • Afterwards, Amy kind of backs away from Mrs. Clennam with disgust and fear.
  • Mrs. Clennam is sorry, but she is also consumed with pride.
  • She asks Amy not to tell Arthur any of this until after Mrs. Clennam's death, because she can't bear to see him discard her. She knows he's never loved her – and really, why would he, when she was never nice or kind or affectionate? – but he does respect her and she can't bear losing that.
  • Amy agrees.
  • Mrs. Clennam tells Amy more about her crazy God-assigned-me-to-punish-sins stuff.
  • Amy isn't buying it and tries to correct her Christian theology as being off, since there's a lot of mercy and forgiveness that Mrs. Clennam isn't taking into account.
  • Finally Mrs. Clennam asks Amy to come back to the house with her to show Blandois that she already knows the story, thereby buying Mrs. Clennam some time to come up with the money.
  • They go, and just as they are about to get to the house they hear a very loud thundering noise.
  • The house collapses into a heap of ruins!
  • Blandois, whom they saw sitting in the window smoking, is crushed in the rubble!
  • It turns out Affery was right about the crazy noises in the house!
  • Mrs. Clennam collapses and is catatonic and paralyzed for the rest of her life (about three years).
  • For a while they think Flintwinch was in there too, but after much digging no one can find his body.
  • And then it turns out that while this all was happening, he was using his position as a partner in Clennam & Co. to cash out the all the firm's assets and go off to Amsterdam.

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 31 Study Group

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