Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Reader Question #3: Chivery vs. Clennam and Jarndyce vs. Woodcourt

This question came to me from Payton from Dirt and Dickens. Payton writes:

In Little Dorrit, Amy receives a proposal from a wonderful guy, John Chivery, but she rejects him and ends up marrying Arthur Clennam. Likewise, in Bleak House, Esther initially accepts Mr. Jarndyce's proposal, but ends up marrying Allan Woodcourt. Both Mr. Jarndyce and John Chivery are amazing guys and true gentlemen, and it's hard to watch them get rejected. So should Amy have married John? Should Esther have married Mr. Jarndyce? Whose team are you on?

Having not read Bleak House or finished reading Little Dorrit, I have to go off of the miniseries for each.

So to answer this question, I'll start off with Little Dorrit. I don't have much against John Chivery, but I honestly prefer Arthur Clennam. I was happy that Amy married Arthur; sure, he was a bit older than her, but he was a good guy. He is responsible for his mistakes, wants to right wrongs, and is an overall good guy. I'm sure he would be a great husband for Amy.

I don't think I would be as happy if Amy married John Chivery. Why? It's not that John Chivery would have been a bad husband for Amy (though her life would certainly be different if she married him), but I guess there's not much of a reason for it other than I got used to the idea of Arthur and Amy getting married before John Chivery even proposed to her.

Now, for Bleak House. I liked both Mr. Jarndyce and Allan Woodcourt (oh my, I keep wanting to write Woodhouse! Way too much Jane Austen? Impossible! You can never have too much Jane Austen! :-P). They were both gentleman and truly cared for Esther. Neither of them had hidden, deep, dark secrets that would potentially ruin them. They always acted properly and had good hearts. So, which one did I prefer Esther end up with? Allan Woodcourt.

But why not Mr. Jarndyce if I liked him so much? Yes, Mr. Jarndyce is a good guy and I liked his character greatly, but he was far, far too old for Esther! Sure, for Little Dorrit Arthur and Amy had a fairly big age gap (about 19 years), but not as big of a age gap as Mr. Jarndyce and Esther (Okay, so I don't know how old Mr. Jarndyce was supposed to be, bit I had the impression that the age gap for him and Esther was pretty big). I could see him more easily as Esther's father (or grandfather even?) rather than her husband. Allan Woodcourt seemed closer to Esther's age than Mr. Jarndyce and seemed like he could be more like a husband to her than Mr. Jarndyce. If it weren't for Mr. Jarndyce's age, I would have been happy if Esther chose either one of them; it simply all came down to age.

So, I'm pretty much certain that Dickens was right in keeping Amy with Arthur Clennam and Esther with Allan Woodcourt. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment!

Thank you, Payton, for sending in your question! If you have a question you would like to submit for me to do a post on, leave a comment. Just follow these guidelines. It can be about anything related to this blog: period dramas, blogging, reviews, etc.

 God Bless,
God Bless, Miss Elizabeth Bennet


  1. Definitely agree about Amy and Arthur... I never have been a John Chivery fan myself. ;-)

    About Esther... I always feel so SAD for Mr. Jarndyce. He's so nice! And he's interesting, too. What a pity he had to be so old! :( Now, if it wasn't for the fact that he was her guardian and knew her when she was younger... that's just a tad weird... I'd lean towards the side of saying maaaaybe I would have liked her to marry him. Not in real life, but this is fiction. However, if she didn't love him... and loved someone else, mind! never mind to that.
    But poor Mr. Jarndyce. Sigh. Sniff.

    Also, I didn't really like Allan Woodcourt very much. (Hahahaha, loved the bit about no such thing as too much Jane Austen. Indubitably!) I don't know why, he just... I didn't dislike him, but he wasn't that interesting either. Haha. I preferred Mr. Jarndyce as a general companion. :)

    1. I kind of felt sorry for Mr. Jarndyce too. If only he was younger and, like you said, wasn't her guardian and didn't know her when she was younger.

      I've seen people around the blogging world who don't care for Allan Woodcourt (and I have to consciously not type Woodhouse!). Maybe it's because he wasn't in the story as much as he could have been? I wonder...


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