Saturday, February 21, 2009

I can't believe the way the power of this novel is building. It's like a hurricane that has taken hundreds of pages to develop. The winds of the plot are blowing very strongly now, but I'm sure they'll get stronger yet. The latest shocking development is the news that Emily, who ran off with the evil James Steerforth, was seriously abused and finally abandoned by him for another woman. Steerforth's equally evil servant tried to keep Emily locked up in the mansion, hoping that he could eventually win her heart, but she escaped and is now nowhere to be found. David and Mr. Peggotty, however, have set out again to search for her in London. They track down a forlorn homeless woman named Martha, whom Emily once befriended, and Dickens describes a sad midnight scene by the river Thames where David and Mr. Peggotty console Martha and ask if she would be willing to help Emily. Martha willing accepts their offer, seeing it as the only way she can redeem her life from total failure. Wow. Such stirring emotions and such brilliant writing.

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