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Thoughts Whilst Reading Nicholas Nickleby (Chapters XXXI – LV)

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Universally acknowledged it is, or at least may be, that once someone has reached the second half of a book, finishing it is that much easier.

I’m at page 740 of this soap opera of a book (credit to Maryom for that comparison) with 71 to go. I’m looking forward to finishing it and moving on, even if I decide to move on to Tolstoy and his agricultural ramblings, though I will say that overall it’s better than it was. Maybe that’s because I can sense some sort of proper ending for Squeers.

I’m still finding Nicholas to be awful, in fact I really don’t like him at all. He lets his anger get the better of him too much.

Mrs Nickleby is more over the top than ever but considering Dickens meant her to go on as long as eternity I’ve been letting myself just enjoy it. I loved the way she handled the neighbour, that quiet bit of happiness at being admired at loggerheads with propriety. I’m not sure whether I should be believing the line that he’s mentally ill or not, but he’s one person I think it’d be interesting to hear from again. That plot line needs a proper ribbon tied around it.

Yes, Mr Crummles, go to America and go away. Dickens tied that plot line up well enough the first time. And whilst I don’t want Mantalini to kick the bucket, it’d be nice if he went away, too. I’m still confused abut the sudden turnaround in Dickens’ thoughts for Verisopht when he decided to kill him off.

I’m glad Madeline Bray’s made an appearance (finally!), and hope she makes Nicholas wait for her hand. I’m not sure I quite believe the insta-love thing he has for her and almost wonder if Frank, who I assume has known her for longer, wouldn’t be the better choice. I get the feeling Nicholas would become too domineering in the years to come.

Still liking Kate. If she ends up with Frank, all well and good, though I do hope there’s a brand new character out there for her.

I’m seeing Smike’s end and wishing he had a better one. I read somewhere that there’s the thought that he loves Kate because Dickens couldn’t have him loving Nicholas, and I like that. He feels so much for Nicholas that the written love for Kate doesn’t ring true.

To sum, I’m enjoying it more but so, so happy, to be at the end. This has to be the last time I pick up a lengthy tome just because I like the alliteration of the title and because the film looks fun.

Which book were you recently happy to have finished?



January 26, 2015, 3:30 pm

I recently read the epic Shirley by Charlotte Bronte. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it but it was just very long, and even though it was irrational I felt like I was missing out reading one long book instead of more short books. Reading your thoughts on Nicholas Nickleby makes me think I need a re-read because I’m not remembering much!


February 16, 2015, 12:05 pm

Jessica: More and more I’m finding it odd – you do feel as though you’re missing out but at the same time you’re proud of having read such a long book and, when it’s a classic, you’re proud of just having read it. I suppose it balances itself out in the end, even if you feel the need to play catch-up for a while. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Shirley (I’m still in awe of your Classics Club progress) and I hats off to you if you re-read Nicholas Nickleby. Even enjoyed it’s still a long book.



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