Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. Discuss the role of women in Bleak House, particularly their roles within their marriages.
2. How do the two narrators work together to tell the story of Bleak House?
3. Describe the role of servants in the story of Bleak House.
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Is Esther responsible for Mr. Boythorn’s unhappy life? Why or why not?
2. Choose three instances of foreshadowing in Esther’s narrative and explain the importance of each.
3. Does the Jarndyce and Jarndyce lawsuit serve as an allegory? Explain.
4. Explain the role of three characters who appear only briefly in the novel.
5. Lawyers and the law appear throughout Bleak House. Drawing from specific examples in the novel, evaluate Dickens’ view of the legal system of his time.
6. Throughout Bleak House, mothers and motherhood are common motifs. Various characters search and yearn for their mothers, and women often act as surrogate mothers when necessary. Explain the role of fathers and fatherhood in the novel.
7. What is the significance of the legend of the Ghost’s Walk? What role does it play in the novel?
8. How does Dickens develop character in Bleak House? Support your theories by referring to specific characters from the novel.
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