Bleak House

Bleak House

by

Charles Dickens

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Jenny is a very poor woman, the wife of a brickmaker, and a friend of Liz’s. Esther Summerson and Ada Clare meet Jenny when they visit the brickmaker’s house with Mrs. Pardiggle and find her grief stricken over the death of her baby. Jenny is touched by Esther’s kindness during this time and repays her by helping Lady Dedlock, who she knows is Esther’s mother, when Lady Dedlock’s secret is revealed and she flees her home and the scandal that pursues her. Jenny’s husband mistreats her terribly, as he often drinks too much and beats her. Dickens uses Jenny and the poverty she lives in to illustrate the squalid living conditions among the poor in London.

Jenny Quotes in Bleak House

The Bleak House quotes below are all either spoken by Jenny or refer to Jenny. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Wordsworth edition of Bleak House published in 1993.
Chapter 8 Quotes

‘I’ll save you the trouble. Is my daughter a-washin? Yes, she is a-washin. Look at the water. Smell it! That’s wot we drinks. How do you like it, and what do you think of gin, instead! An’t my place dirty? Yes, it is dirty—it’s nat’rally dirty, and it’s nat’rally onwholesome; and we’ve had five dirty and onwholesome children, as is all dead infants, and so much the better for them, and for us besides. Have I read the little book wot you left? No, I an’t read the little book wot you left. There an’t nobody here as knows how to read it; and if there wos, it wouldn’t be suitable to me. It’s a book fit for a babby, and I’m not a babby.’

Related Characters: The Brickmaker (speaker), Esther Summerson, Ada Clare, Jenny, Liz, Mrs. Pardiggle
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

Mrs. Pardiggle, who had been regarding him through her spectacles with a forcible composure, calculated, I could not help thinking, to increase his antagonism, pulled out a good book, as if it were a constable’s staff, and took the whole family into custody. I mean into religious custody, of course; but she really did it, as if she were an inexorable moral Policeman carrying them all off to a station-house.

Related Characters: Esther Summerson (speaker), Ada Clare, Jenny, Liz, The Brickmaker, Mrs. Pardiggle
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Bleak House LitChart as a printable PDF.
Bleak House PDF

Jenny Character Timeline in Bleak House

The timeline below shows where the character Jenny appears in Bleak House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...a handkerchief. Another woman enters the hut and rushes to the mother, addressing her as “Jenny.” Esther and Ada leave the women to their grief. On the way home they meet... (full context)
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...see the brickmaker, who is very drunk. When they arrive at the house, they find Jenny’s friend at the door. She is there to comfort Jenny but periodically rushes outside to... (full context)
Chapter 22
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...drunk, and two women, who lie on the floor. They call each other Liz and Jenny, and Jenny cradles Liz’s baby. The men tell Mr. Bucket that they have come from... (full context)
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
While they wait for Jo, Liz tells Jenny that, although she loves the child, she sometimes wishes it would die. Mr. Bucket sternly... (full context)
Chapter 31
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...Charley’s lessons for the night, Charley asks her if she knows a brickmaker’s wife named Jenny. Esther says that she does and asks Charley what she knows of her. Charley says... (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
...is a wet, blustery night and already dark when Charley and Esther set out to Jenny’s. As Esther walks there, she has the surreal feeling that she has undergone a transformation.... (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
Jenny tries to calm Jo and tells him that this lady is a friend. Jo admits... (full context)
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
Jenny tells Esther that Liz has gone out to see if anyone will take Jo in;... (full context)
Chapter 35
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
Esther asks if the woman’s name was Jenny, and Miss Flite confirms that it was. Charley tells Esther that Jenny has often come... (full context)
Chapter 46
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
...young lady very kindly took him home. Jo, however, ran away in the night and Jenny, the woman, has been looking for him ever since. Jenny begins to cry and shouts... (full context)
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...he will find a better place for Jo and, after letting him say goodbye to Jenny, he leads him out of Tom-all-Alone’s. (full context)
Chapter 57
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...should go there immediately. They find the brickmakers and Liz in another cottage nearby, but Jenny is not with them. Esther asks if they can tell her anything about Lady Dedlock—who... (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Esther asks where Jenny is and if she will be back soon, but her husband answers unpleasantly that she... (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
...Dedlock’s visit. Mr. Bucket thinks perhaps that Lady Dedlock gave them the watch so that Jenny would carry a message to London for her. (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
...have lost the trail when, suddenly, he announces that they must turn around and follow Jenny instead, back to London. Esther pleads with Mr. Bucket not to abandon her mother, but... (full context)
Chapter 59
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
...woman lies on the ground, and Esther rushes to her and thinks that it is Jenny. Mr. Bucket tries to hold her back. He says that “they changed clothes at the... (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Haunting, Guilt, and Destiny Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
Esther is horrified by the sight of Jenny, who helped her mother, lying senseless in the snow. Mr. Woodcourt looks pained as he... (full context)