Week 2: The end of a ruff journey

Chapter 4 begins with the absence of the two unnamed travellers from the first part.  Mr Lorry, as we now know him to be is described to be like a dog in a kennel.  He is wrapped in straw and has acquired an unusual smell.  This is continued after he has dressed.  He wears a suit of brown, much like a dog and is described as “bright eyed” and sits still waiting for breakfast.  This implies that he is on his guard, like a dog, and this is emphasised by the fact that he says the lady visiting him may ask for a gentleman, and not use his name.  His walk after breakfast walk continues this theme as does the metaphorical digging through his thoughts.  He contradicts this by telling Miss Manette that he has no feelings but while saying this pushes his wig over his ears as a dog may scratch its ears when it is uncomfortable.  This implies that his feelings are present and stronger than he is willing to admit.  The lady who revives Miss Manette treats Mr Lorry like a dog, pushing him out of the way and referring to him as “you in brown”.  He keeps out of the way and withdraws from the scene, reinforcing the impression that he is below the people.

The repetition of best and worst in Chapter 4, the opening line of the novel, would have reminded readers of the series of the beginning and helped them join the parts together.

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One thought on “Week 2: The end of a ruff journey

  1. Really interesting reading Donna – I’d never thought about Mr Lorry in this way. I know that Beryl Grey is working on the importance of dogs to Dickens’s imagination – I heard her give a great paper about St Bernards (dogs and mountain) in Little Dorrit. Given that Dickens spoke voluably about the affection and faithfulness he felt from his own dogs it would make sense as a possible imaginative structure for this character – without wanting to get ahead of ourselves!

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