Study Guide

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 7

By Charles Dickens

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Book 2, Chapter 7

Mostly, Prunes and Prism

  • Amy does her best to learn all about prunes and prism. It's totally miserable, but at least Fanny is being nice to her now, which is something, we guess.
  • One day Fanny announces to Amy that Mrs. General clearly has designs on snagging their totally eligible father. Amy is all, really? And Fanny is all, duh.
  • Amy tries to pay more attention to the situation but can't see anything unusual. She does see that Sparkler is way crazy about Fanny, who is still torturing him by playing hard to get – and then harder to get.
  • One day Blandois comes to the house, and Dorrit welcomes him since he's Gowan's friend. Dorrit asks Blandois to tell Gowan that Dorrit would like to commission a portrait of himself.
  • Aw, he's a patron of the arts.
  • When Blandois tells Gowan, Gowan gets mad and snippy about how he's too high-class to paint Dorrit. But then again, mad and snippy are kind of his only modes. Finally, he decides he needs the money, so what the heck.
  • Gowan goes to see Dorrit. They talk a little shop and decide to do it up in Rome. Also, Gowan manages to yet again set himself up as the big sacrificing loser in his marriage to Pet. Only Amy isn't fooled.
  • Amy and Pet are both way freaked out by Blandois, who seems to have some kind of power over them. Some kind of evil, evil power.
  • One day they want to talk about him, but he comes and will not take any hint to leave – instead doing his over-polite gentleman thing.
  • Finally Pet asks him to get the gondola and quickly whispers to Amy that she's sure that Blandois killed the dog. No proof, but, seriously, just look at him. Amy agrees.
  • Amy has some deep thoughts about wealth and high society. To her, they just seem like a different form of prison. Whoa – that's some crazy twist!
  • Anyhoodle, the Dorrits are done with Venice and move on to Rome, where it's more of the same old.
  • Except... they run into Mrs. Merdle. She takes a lot of pains to kind of play a game with Fanny, the rules of which are basically: 1) they met for the very first time in Dorrit's hotel dining room; and 2) Fanny and family have been traveling abroad for many, many years, and that's why no one in England really knows them.
  • Fanny is a big fan of this game and plays another game right back at Mrs. Merdle, the rules of which are 1) Edmund Sparkler? I barely remember who that is; and 2) in reality, if Sparkler did come to the house it was only so Dorrit could eventually meet Mr. Merdle, who is the only one anyone cares about.
  • It's really strategy on top of strategy here, folks. But who will win this battle of wits?

Little Dorrit Book 2, Chapter 7 Study Group

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