View Full Version : Read this 17 years ago,

07-07-2007, 04:16 PM
I was forced to read Little Dorrit my senior year of High School and it was such an awful experience that it took me sixteen years to pick up another Dickens book. However, when I read Great Expectations last summer I really enjoyed it. I am now currently reading David Copperfield and I like that too.

So what I am wondering is this; Is Little Dorrit an inferior work to the other two?

I am trying to decide if my problem in high school was the book, or my maturity level.

07-07-2007, 09:43 PM
It appears as if this book has been drowned in the recess of literary oblivion. I for one have never heard of the book so I can't help you sorry. My experience with Dickens has been over all positive as I have read and thoroughly enjoyed Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, David Copperfield and his easiest work, A Christmas Carol. I would be brazen to presume that Little Dormit is significantly inferior to Dickens' prior works mainly because I have never heard allusion or discussion of the book.

My thoughts might be excluded from considering because of my ignorance of the book's existence, but predominantly acclaimed books such as the ones you see all the time are usually the ones worth reading. I'm surprised your highschool required a book that appears to be so obscure.

07-08-2007, 03:55 AM
I really think my AP English teacher was going through one Dickens book each year. The year before that class read Bleak House.

It was a really good class though. In the space of that year I read large sections of the Bible, Little Dorrit, Jane Eyre, Hamlet, All Quiet on the Western Front, Death of a Salesman, All my Sons, and more poems and short stories than I can remember. The only thing I really did not like was Little Dorrit. (Although I hated the end of Jane Eyre. I mean really, all the houses in the English countryside and she just happens to find her cousins. Give me a break.)

Sam Gamgee
03-17-2008, 06:53 AM
I think you might like Little Dorrit better now, if you find that you like Dickens's novels. Dickens considered it one of his favorite novels. It is chock full of the sentimentality that characterizes all of Victorian literature--probably more so than some of his novels. It has many intertwining story lines, but is more centrally focused (in my opinion) than most of his other books. It happens to be one of my two favorites of his, but I think that one could enjoy most of his works but not Little Dorrit. If I were you, though, I'd definitely try reading it again. It has some hysterical and memorable characters, and some great romance.

ex ponto
07-08-2008, 07:15 PM
I guess it was your maturity level. I love Dickens, and I am actually reading Little Dorit right now. As the book started, I loved the most those parts that had taken place in France, but it seems now the book will get under my skin in short time. Though, it is kind of gloomy - almost all the descriptions are, except the one of Marceille. And Little Dorrit was (or tried to be) happy inside herself, but lived in poverty and in prison. On the other hand, Arthur was raised in a wealthy family, but was never happy due to lack of love by his parents. I think he's the most unhappy main character in all the Dickens books I've rad.

09-12-2008, 02:32 PM
I've just finished reading Little Dorritt and at first, throughout 'Book the First' I thought it showed great promise, but then subsequently, to me, it just got really boring and somewhat confusing. I really don't see it as having much of a plot but instead merely wallows in various repetitions of the 'imprisonment' theme. Perhaps there was a plot, somewhere, I found myself constantly thinking that Blandois/Rigaud was the obvious villain, but couldn't really see what he got up to, probably because after having struggled through 2/3 of the book I started to skim read and even skip pages. To me it compares poorly to 'Bleak House' and I think the only answer is to listen to the Radio adaptation I have or wait for the rumoured television adaptation and see if that awakens my interest.

12-15-2008, 05:56 PM
I hope you enjoyed the recent tv adaptation - I thought that Rigaud was by far the most interesting character, with Mr Pancks a poor second.

I've read the book since the adaptation was on TV, because the series didn't explain why the Clennans were responsible for Wm Dorrit's poverty etc - it was very confusing.

I thought Amy Dorrit, even by Dicken's standards, was a right wet lettuce, and possibly one of the most boring women in literature. Possibly Florence Dombey beats her by a short nose, but it's a close finish, believe you me.

04-21-2009, 10:37 PM
It probably was your maturity level. I don't think I could have read it in high school either. Having just completed it though, at a much older age, I found it to be a flawed but utterly fascinating novel. The overarching theme of imprisonment (the life experience of each character reflecting some manner of imprisonment) held out the promise of this novel being Dickens' most psychologically introspective work. However, for whatever reason, (the pressures of serialization, maybe?) he failed pursue this theme, in both plot and character development, to the depths he could have. Although I enjoyed the book, in the end I felt unsatisfied and that an important level of insight into the human heart had been missed. Woudn't this novel have worked better if Clennam had been the sole agent of discovery, peeling away the layers of his family history and its connection to the Dorrits, and maybe in the process gaining some insight into himself? Instead we were given the contrived and implausible blackmail scheme of the evil Blandois.

Jenifer Johnson
04-28-2009, 05:07 AM
I just saw PBS's adaptation of Little Dorritt but the series didn't explain the connection between Arthur and Amy's birth and why Mrs. Clennan was responsible for Dorrit's poverty.

Could someone fill me in?

Thanks in advance, JJ

Sam Gamgee
11-28-2009, 01:22 AM
Ah! I'm not surprised that you were confused. The connection between Amy and Arthur was very poorly handled in that series, I thought. (I loved it otherwise...)

Here it is:

Arthur's birth mother was a musician (singer, I think) and a protegee of Frederick Dorrit, Amy's uncle. Arthur's father met Arthur's mother at a mucial salon of some sort that Frederick held.

Arthur's uncle forced him to marry someone else (Mrs. Clennam) and his birth mother went mad and died.

Arthur's uncle felt guilty for what had happened, so he left 1,000 pounds (or something) to Frederick Dorrit's youngest daughter, or, if he had none, to his youngest neice. Frederick Dorrit did not have a daughter, so his youngest neice, Amy Dorrit, should have inherited the money, if Mrs. Clennam had not kept it from her.

Hope that helps!