The book certainly has variety. Aside from diversified characters and plot lines, it combines romance and realism and resembles more than one fictional genre. In part, Bleak House is what the Germans call a Bildungsroman (literally, a formation novel), a story dealing with young people's initiation into the adult world. It is also partly a romance and partly a murder mystery (in fact, it is the first British novel in which a professional detective figures strongly). Bleak House is also a novel of social criticism. The main point of the novel is the needless suffering caused by the inefficiency and inhumanity of the law and, by extension, of all forms of institutionalized inhumanity. Both the social criticism and the comic elements are typical of Dickens' novels. Typical also are several other features of Bleak House. As in almost all of Dickens' fiction, the main setting is the city.
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