Study Guide

Our Mutual Friend Book 1, Part 4, Chapter 11

By Charles Dickens

Book 1, Part 4, Chapter 11

Podsnappery

  • We get a look into the mind of Mr. Podsnap, who admires one person more than anyone else in the world—himself. He's got all kinds of money and social status, and can't understand why anyone would be unsatisfied with the world just the way it is.
  • In other words, Mr. Podsnap = the status quo, at least in Dickens' eyes.
  • Mr. Podsnap has a daughter named Georgiana who is about to turn eighteen, and Mr. Podsnap figures that it might be a good idea to throw her a birthday party and present her to the world.
  • The time comes for Georgiana's party, but it just ends up being a dinner party that the Podsnaps have for their own social circle. Not a single young person is invited.
  • During the dinner, Podsnap spends his time trying to explain to a Frenchman why England is so much better than France. This guy sounds like the worst.
  • After dinner is over, Sophronia Lammle sits down with Georgiana Podsnap and asks whether she likes dancing. Georgiana says no, because she's too shy, and she admits that she wishes sometimes that she were from a poorer background so she could just enjoy life without worrying about appearances.
  • At one point in the party, someone mentions that a dozen people in London have recently died in the streets of starvation. Mr. Podsnap refuses to believe such a thing could happen in England. But when the stat turns out to be true, he simply insists that the people who starved must have brought it on themselves. Then he says he won't hear anything more about it, and forbids further discussion of the poor.
  • When the time comes to leave, Mrs. Lammle asks Georgiana not to forget their new agreement: they're going to be besties from now on.
  • While driving home, Alfred Lammle tells Mrs. Lammle to keep Georgiana Podsnap under her thumb. He has big plans for this young woman. He thinks he can make some money off her while taking Mr. Podsnap down a peg.