Trivia Quiz on Bleak House (1853)by Charles Dickens
For West Seattle “Classic Novels (and Movies)” book club, 1/16/22
A. Bleak House Essentials I: Characters galore!
1. … and they have such funny names! Odd and humorous names abound in Dickens’s prose, and they provide a good laugh to readers. Which of the following is not a character in Bleak House?
a. An unwelcome cousin, Volumnia b. A wicked money-lender named Uriah Heep
c. Lord Boodle, the Duke of Foodle, and the Noodle, Sir Leicester
d. A nasty old man called Grandfather Smallweed e. A dirty boy named Peepy
2. … but they’re confusing. Which people are important? Bleak House is crammed with people of all sorts who bump shoulders in apparently accidental ways, on crowded city streets among other places. Yet some encounters are significant. Which one of the following encounters among characters is followed by a significant message or foreshadowing?
a. Miss Flite’s meeting with the three orphans outside Lincoln’s Inn
b. Lady Dedlock’s meeting with Lord Boodle at her home in town
c. Lady Jane’s meeting with the three orphans at Krook’s store
d. The visit to Mrs. Jellyby of some natives of Borrioboola-Gha
B. Bleak House Essentials II: The World of London
3. Compared to other London novels such as Mrs. Dalloway, there are few tourist locations named in Bleak House. Which one of the following places is named?
a. The Shard
b. The Victoria and Albert Museum
c. The Tate Modern
d. Temple Bar
e. The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
f. All of the above
C. Bleak House Essentials III: Fog
4. Many scenes take place in dark, shady neighborhoods or deep in a cold wintry fog. The fog often portends confusion, as if the characters are entering into a particularly disorganized, unruly, murky place. Which of the following places in Bleak House does not match that description?
a. The home of the Jellyby family
c. The Court of Chancery
d. Krook’s store
e. None of the above: they all match that description
5. The House Itself: Not so bleak! Which of the following does not describe Bleak House?
a. “delightfully irregular”
b. “a bountiful profusion of little halls and passages”
c. “It was the completest and most desirable bedroom ever seen—in the stern of the vessel; with a little window, and a little looking-glass, just the right height for me, framed with oyster shells.”
d. “shining out upon the star-light night; with its light, and warmth, and comfort”
6. Strange Pronouncements and Legacies. Some of the most vivid passages touch on the power of words to form a destiny or conjure up the past. Which of the following is not in the novel?
a. “It would have been far better, little Esther, that you had had no birthday; that you had never been born!”
b. “Take care how you cut yourself. It is more dangerous than you think in this country.”
c. “Some melancholy influence is upon her; or why should so proud a lady close the doors, and sit alone upon the hearth so desolate?”
d. “Blest! If I can ever have seen her. Yet I know her! Has the picture been engraved, miss?”
e. “The only other lodger is a law-writer. The children in the lanes here, say he has sold himself to the devil.”
D. Style and Wisdom. Charles Dickens shows great talent for describing human frailties, yet the depth of the characters’ psychology may disappoint: people often resemble their exterior and names. Name the person associated with the following quotes, from this list: a. Mr. Snagsby; b. Esther Summerson; c. Harold Skimpole
7. “It sounds—somehow it sounds, like a small sum?”
8. “But so from rough outsides (I hope I have learnt) serene and gentle influences often proceed.”
9. “X appears: greasy, warm, herbaceous, and chewing.”
10. Maxims. Dickens famously describes Victorian attitudes in his works, and Bleak House abounds with maxims such as all of the following but one. Which one doesn’t fit?
a. “Of all the soul’s impressions, shame is the most conventional and the one most capable of being falsely applied.”
b. “Submission, self-denial, diligent work, are the preparations for a life.”
c. “There were two classes of charitable people; one, the people who did a little and made a great deal of noise; the other, the people who did a great deal and made no noise at all.”
d. “It is a melancholy truth that even great men have their poor relations.”
11. True or False? An earlier name for Mr. Jarndyce’s home is “The Peaks”. T / F
1. b. Readers of David Copperfield will find Uriah Heep there, but not in Bleak House.
5. c. This quote is also from David Copperfield.
6. b. That warning is from Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
10. a. That comment is from Karolina Pavlova’s novel, A Double Life.