Bleak House

Charles Dickens
Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 5

Thus Chesney Wold. With so much of itself abandoned to darkness and vacancy; with so little change under the summer shining or the wintry lowering; so sombre and motionless always . . . ; passion and pride, even to the stranger’s eye, have died away from the place in Lincolnshire, and yielded it to dull repose.

This quotation concludes chapter 66, “Down in Lincolnshire,” as well as the third-person narrator’s portion of the novel. In the paragraph that precedes this quotation, the narrator tells us that Chesney Wold is so desolate that people are afraid to walk in it by themselves and that a maid became so depressed that she couldn’t stay there. Here, the narrator concludes his description of Chesney Wold’s deathlike state. When he says simply “Thus Chesney Wold,” he seems to dismiss the home from all chance of hope or revival: it is this way now, and it will be this way forever. The narrator personifies the house to some extent, calling it “abandoned,” “sombre,” and “motionless” and says that it is in “repose.” This strategy is also a way for the narrator to step back from the story he’s been telling and sum up the fates of all those who once lived here. By not focusing in on one particular person, the narrator seems to suggest that the inhabitants of Chesney Wold have all become rather ghostlike themselves, rattling around the empty, echoing rooms without much purpose.

The “passion and pride” the narrator refers to connect most poignantly to Sir Leicester. A great, indomitable man, Sir Leicester was finally destroyed by the loss of Lady Dedlock. He fought it to the last and hoped she’d return, but to no avail. He is a changed, weakened man, who, like Chesney Wold itself, has been abandoned and exists in the same listless state throughout summer and winter. The conclusion of the narrator’s tale is grim, and, as Esther resumes her tale in chapter 67 by discussing how happy she and Bleak House are, Chesney Wold seems to fade and finally disappear completely.