Barnaby Rudge-Week 4-Chapters 6 &7

Dickens, the non-mystery writer, seems to me to be writing a mystery novel at least that’s the way that Chapter 6 felt to me. Questions, Questions, Questions.

Why is Mrs. Rudge so afraid of the man who came to her door? What is her connection to this mysterious man who keeps showing up at and asking inconvenient questions? Why did he assault the man that locksmith Varden and Barnaby find in the road? This mysterious man seems connected to everything in the novel. I think he will be the one who ties everything together. I’m not sure if he is the villan here, only more chapters will tell I guess.

Dickens gives us a second, longer look at our title character and he seems quite unbalanced. There are many insane characters in Victorian literature and in Dickens novels. I wonder if Barnaby is so unbalanced because that is how he is naturally or did he witness something that unsettled his mind? It will be interesting to see if Barnaby’s ramblings make more sense as the reader has more information about what is going on. I wonder what the book would look like if the story was told from Barnaby’s point of view instead of Gabriel Varden?

Chapter 7 once again deals with the domestic side of things in the Vardens household. We see how disturbed Varden is by the actions and demeanor of Mrs. Rudge and how difficult his wife is. Dickens seems to write so gently for his young female characters, Dolly and Amy Dorritt come to mind, but to have no sympathy for older women such as Mrs. Varden or Mrs. Clennam.
No wonder he left his wife. I think it’s safe to say that Dickens has some issues. I wonder if Dickens had ever written a sequel which featured Dolly or Amy in middle age how well they might have faired in their later portrayal?

As always Dickens has intrigued us with an ending to the second chapter that makes you look forward to the next. Where is Sam going?

Off to read 8 & 9. Here’s hoping that we receive the answer to at least one question. Is that too much to ask at this early stage?


One comment on “Barnaby Rudge-Week 4-Chapters 6 &7

  1. Gina says:

    While I agree that Dickens had issues, he does have some positive portrayals of middle-aged and older women, such as Mrs. Cratchit, Belle (Scrooge’s former sweetheart), Miss Pross, Miss Flite, Miss Mowcher, and my favorite, Miss Betsey Trotwood. Some of these are eccentric — even wildly so! — but all are kindhearted and likable.

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