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Bleak House | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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Bleak House | Characters

Character Description
Esther Summerson Esther Summerson grows up believing herself an orphan. After her godmother dies, a mysterious person becomes her guardian. He is later revealed to be John Jarndyce. Read More
John Jarndyce One of the heirs to the Jarndyce will, which is tied up in Chancery, John Jarndyce is the single, 60-year-old owner of Bleak House. Read More
Lady Honoria Dedlock Lady Dedlock is the haughty, bored, and fashionable wife of Sir Leicester Dedlock. Read More
Sir Leicester Dedlock Sir Leicester Dedlock is a baronet and the owner of Chesney Wold. He is proud of his family's history, which he considers closely linked with the success of the nation. Read More
Ada Clare Ada Clare is an orphan and one of the wards of the court in the Jarndyce case. Read More
Richard Carstone Richard Carstone is an orphan who is one of the wards of the court in the Jarndyce case. Read More
Bayham Badger The London-based surgeon Bayham Badger is Conversation Kenge's cousin and agrees to supervise Richard Carstone's medical education.
Mrs. Badger Mrs. Badger is on her third husband; she may be older than the current Mr. Badger, but she dresses like a younger woman.
Matthew Bagnet Matthew Bagnet is a former soldier, bassoonist, and Mr. George's old army friend.
Mrs. Bagnet Matthew's wife, Mrs. Bagnet, is an industrious woman who has the bearing of a soldier herself.
Malta Bagnet Malta is the Bagnets' older daughter.
Quebec Bagnet Quebec is the Bagnets' younger daughter.
Woolwich Bagnet Woolwich is the Bagnets' son and Mr. George's godson; like his father, Woolwich is a musician.
Miss Barbary Until her death when Esther was nearly 14, Esther's aunt, the stern and highly religious Miss Barbary, raised the girl in lonely circumstances.
Blaze and Sparkle Blaze and Sparkle run a jewelry shop together and are always of one mind.
Mrs. Blinder Mrs. Blinder, a kind woman with a house in Bell Yard, rents rooms to the Necketts and Mr. Gridley.
Mr. Bogsby Mr. Bogsby owns the Sol's Arms pub on Cursitor Street.
Lord Boodle Lord Boodle is an acquaintance of the Dedlocks who misses the old days.
Lawrence Boythorn John Jarndyce's old school friend Lawrence Boythorn is a large, boisterous ex-soldier prone to exaggeration but with a heart of gold; he is also Sir Leicester's neighbor.
Mr. Bucket Mr. Bucket is a professional detective who investigates a series of mysterious events.
Mrs. Bucket Mrs. Bucket is the inspector's clever wife.
William Buffy William Buffy is a member of Parliament and an acquaintance of Sir Leicester's.
Mr. Chadband The Reverend Mr. Chadband is a self-satisfied, smarmy preacher of no particular denomination who tries to make himself look good by preaching at Jo.
Mrs. Chadband Mrs. Chadband is the name of Miss Barbary's former servant, Mrs. Rachael, after she marries the preacher Mr. Chadband. She marries him after inheriting her mistress's house and property.
Chancellor The Chancellor is the highest judge in the Court of Chancery.
Darby Darby is the police constable who goes to Tom-all-Alone's to look for Jo with Mr. Bucket and Mr. Snagsby.
Dedlock cousins An unspecified number of poor cousins gather at Chesney Wold; Sir Leicester Dedlock supports them financially, and they in turn support Sir Leicester's political efforts.
Volumnia Dedlock Sir Leicester's 60-year-old cousin, Volumnia, has no money of her own despite being related to the Dedlocks.
Professor Dingo Professor Dingo, a highly respected academic, was Mrs. Badger's second husband.
Miss Donny There are actually two Miss Donnys—identical twins—who run a small boarding school where Esther Summerson is trained as a governess.
Esther Esther, who is Caddy Jellyby's daughter and Esther Summerson's goddaughter, is a sickly baby.
Miss Flite In the perpetual hope that her case will be heard, Miss Flite—a crazy, birdlike old woman—attends Chancery court daily.
Mr. George After leaving the army, Mr. George opens a shooting gallery in London; he is later revealed to be Mrs. Rouncewell's younger son.
Mr. Gridley Mr. Gridley, who has lost everything in a Chancery case, moves to London from Shropshire to attend court.
Mr. Grubble The pleasant Mr. Grubble is the landlord of the Dedlock Arms, the pub in the village near Chesney Wold.
William Guppy Mr. Guppy is a clever law clerk at Kenge and Carboy's; he falls for Esther Summerson at first sight.
Mr. Gusher Mr. Gusher is an exuberant speaker for philanthropic causes.
Guster Called Guster, the Snagsbys' unhappy servant is a workhouse girl originally named Augusta.
Hortense Lady Dedlock's personal maid, Hortense, is French; she is ready to defend her position in the household.
Tom Jarndyce Though he died before the events of Bleak House, Tom Jarndyce exerts an influence over his great-nephew, John Jarndyce.
Caddy Jellyby Caroline Jellyby, the Jellybys' oldest daughter, acts as her mother's secretary.
Mr. Jellyby He is Mrs. Jellyby's henpecked husband.
Mrs. Jellyby She is a philanthropist who is very involved in projects in Africa but who pays little attention to matters at home.
Peepy Jellyby He is the Jellybys' neglected son.
Jenny Jenny is the wife of an abusive brickmaker; while Esther and Ada are visiting Jenny, her baby dies in her arms.
Jo He is a boy in Tom-all-Alone's who sweeps street crossings, knows Nemo, guides Lady Dedlock, and generally connects all the storylines.
Tony Jobling He is a legal copywriter and friend of Mr. Guppy's, who takes on the alias Mr. Weevle for part of the novel.
Conversation Kenge Conversation Kenge—so called because he talks a lot—is a senior partner in the law firm of Kenge and Carboy, solicitors, and represents John Jarndyce in the Jarndyce case.
Krook An eccentric old man who sells old rope and other junk, Krook hoards old papers even though he cannot read or write.
Liz Liz, Jenny's close friend, puts friendship ahead of her own well-being when she goes against her husband's wishes to help Jenny.
Mooney Mooney is the name of the parish beadle in Cook's Court.
Mercury Mercury is the name used by the narrator to refer to any one of Sir Leicester's footmen.
Melchisedech A solicitor in Clifford's Inn who deals with loans, Melchisedech refuses to accept Mr. George's business.
Miss M. Melvilleson Miss Melvilleson is the misleading stage name of a singer who is secretly married and the target of gossip in Cursitor Street.
Charley Neckett Charlotte Neckett is the debt collector's daughter and old beyond her years.
Emma Neckett Emma is Charley's baby sister.
Mr. Neckett The debt collector, Mr. Neckett, is nicknamed "Coavinses" by Harold Skimpole, whom he arrests for debt.
Tom Neckett Tom is Charley's little brother.
Nemo This name is used by Captain Hawdon, former officer and lover of Lady Dedlock, now a legal copyist.
Alfred Pardiggle Alfred is Mrs. Pardiggle's youngest son and is forced to participate in all her causes.
Egbert Pardiggle Egbert, Mrs. Pardiggle's oldest son, is forced to participate in all her causes.
Felix Pardiggle Felix is Mrs. Pardiggle's fourth son and is forced to participate in all her causes.
Francis Pardiggle Francis is Mrs. Pardiggle's third son and is forced to participate in all her causes.
Mrs. Pardiggle Mrs. Pardiggle works on a number of general committees and is always asking Mr. Jarndyce for donations.
Oswald Pardiggle Oswald is Mrs. Pardiggle's second son and is forced to participate in all her causes.
Mrs. Perkins Mrs. Perkins is a neighbor of Krook's in Cook's Court and a friend of Mrs. Piper's.
Anastasia Piper Mrs. Piper is a neighbor of Krook's in Cook's Court and the only witness at Nemo's inquest.
Priscilla Priscilla is the Jellybys' heavy-drinking, inefficient maid.
Mr. Quale Mr. Quale is an admirer of philanthropic endeavors.
Mrs. Rachael Mrs. Rachael is Miss Barbary's only servant; after inheriting her mistress's house and property, she marries a preacher, Mr. Chadband.
Richard Ada Clare and Richard Carstone's son is named after his father.
Rosa The Dedlocks' beautiful, dark-haired maid is a local girl from the village.
Mr. Rouncewell An engineer by profession, Mrs. Rouncewell's older son owns a blast furnace for smelting iron.
Mrs. Rouncewell Sir Leicester's aging housekeeper has been with the family for 50 years.
Watt Rouncewell Mrs. Rouncewell's grandson has finished his engineering apprenticeship and plans to follow in his father's footsteps.
Sheen and Gloss The mercers, Sheen and Gloss, sell fine fabrics to the fashionable set.
Arethusa Skimpole Arethusa is Harold Skimpole's "Beauty daughter."
Harold Skimpole Although he can be witty and entertaining, Harold Skimpole is a self-centered sponger who frequently stays at Bleak House.
Kitty Skimpole Kitty is Harold Skimpole's "Comedy daughter."
Laura Skimpole Laura is Harold Skimpole's "Sentiment daughter."
Mrs. Skimpole Harold Skimpole's wife, Mrs. Skimpole, was once beautiful but is now an invalid.
Mr. Sladdery Mr. Sladdery, a bookseller, knows everyone who's anyone.
Bart Smallweed William Guppy's friend Young (Bart) Smallweed is only a teenager, but he has already seen it all.
Grandfather Smallweed An ill-tempered old man, Bart Smallweed's grandfather makes his living by lending out money at exorbitant interest.
Grandmother Smallweed Grandmother Smallweed, a senile old woman, is the only child-like member of her family and the frequent target of her husband's bad temper.
Judy Smallweed The Smallweeds' granddaughter, Judy, looks and acts a lot older than she is—just like her twin brother, Bart.
Mr. Snagsby Mr. Snagsby is the henpecked owner of a legal stationery shop.
Mrs. Snagsby Mrs. Snagsby, a small, ill-tempered woman, keeps her husband on a tight rein.
Phil Squod Phil Squod works for Mr. George in the shooting gallery.
Bob Stables An unemployed young relative of the Dedlocks, Bob Stables is obsessed with horses and thinks entirely in equine terms.
Little Swills Little Swills is an impressionist who imitates well-known individuals for the amusement of his audiences.
Captain Swosser Captain Swosser, a naval officer, was Mrs. Badger's first husband and great love.
Mr. Tangle A barrister working on the Jarndyce case, Mr. Tangle uses words to suggest his ideas rather than state them.
Thomas Thomas is a groom at Chesney Wold.
Mr. Tulkinghorn He is a ruthless Chancery solicitor who collects secrets to give him power over others and blackmails Lady Dedlock.
Mr. Turveydrop Mr. Turveydrop is an older gentleman who owns a dance academy and is bone idle but highly regarded for his deportment.
Prince Turveydrop Prince Turveydrop, Mr. Turveydrop's son, teaches dancing; he meets and marries one of his students, Caddy Jellyby.
Mr. Vholes Richard Carstone's sallow-complected solicitor, Mr. Vholes, is more interested in Richard's money than his case.
Miss Wisk Miss Wisk is a friend of Mr. Quale's (later his fiancée) who is committed to her mission—whatever that may be at the moment.
Allan Woodcourt The young doctor Allan Woodcourt puts the wellbeing of his patients first; perhaps that's why he needs to take a job as a ship's surgeon on a clipper bound for Asia.
Mrs. Woodcourt Allan Woodcourt's mother is very concerned about her royal Welsh bloodline.
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