Heavy, persistent fog is not something that tends to lift spirits and brighten faces. In a story, such a fog may even serve as a symbol of institutional oppression and human confusion and misery. The fog that Dickens creates for Bleak House serves him in exactly that way. And yet it is not, after all, a real-life fog, but a verbal description of the real-life thing. How that depiction is managed — in other words, "expression" — becomes the crucial point, the real issue.If, by plunging us again and again into the London fog, Dickens is trying to depress us, he is on shaky ground: All of us tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain. If the writing — taken up with an open mind and given a fair trial — really depresses us, we are quite likely to stop reading and declare Dickens an impossible, unreadable author.
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