Bleak House

Bleak House

by

Charles Dickens

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Mr. Quale Character Analysis

Mr. Quale is a philanthropist and friend of Mrs. Jellyby’s. Mrs. Jellyby wants him to marry Caddy, her eldest daughter, but Caddy despises Mr. Quale and hates all philanthropy in general because she blames it for her mother’s neglect of the family. Mr. Quale represents philanthropists who, Dickens suggests, make a great show of being charitable and invested in social causes but who accomplish nothing. Mr. Quale is known in his philanthropic circle for having no specific cause of his own but for talking very enthusiastically about everybody else’s causes.

Mr. Quale Quotes in Bleak House

The Bleak House quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Quale or refer to Mr. Quale. 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 30 Quotes

One other singularity was, that nobody with a mission—except Mr Quale, whose mission, as I think I have formerly said, was to be in ecstasies with everybody’s mission—cared at all for anybody’s mission. Mrs Pardiggle being as clear that the only one infallible course was her course of pouncing upon the poor, and applying benevolence to them like a strait-waistcoat; as Miss Wisk was that the only practical thing for the world was the emancipation of Woman from the thraldom of her Tyrant, Man. Mrs Jellyby, all the while, sat smiling at the limited vision that could see anything but Borrioboola-Gha.

Page Number: 362
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Quale Character Timeline in Bleak House

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Quale appears in Bleak House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...the strange, silent man who sits at the table is Mr. Jellyby. Another a philanthropist, Mr. Quale , also joins them and talks enthusiastically about Mrs. Jellyby’s work. (full context)
Chapter 5
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...leave the others behind. Caddy complains that her parents are fools and that she hates Mr. Quale . Esther tries to remind her that they are her parents, but Caddy says that... (full context)
Chapter 14
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...soon be bankrupt. She also declares that although her mother has intended her to marry Mr. Quale , she will never marry a philanthropist and, instead, is secretly engaged to another man.... (full context)
Chapter 15
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
Identity and Appearance Theme Icon
...perform their duties and carry on their causes noisily and are not very pleasant people. Mr. Quale , who is often present, seems to spend most of his time going on and... (full context)
Chapter 23
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
Mrs. Jellyby regrets that Caddy will not marry Mr. Quale —who is an eminent philanthropist—but Caddy insists she has always hated Mr. Quale. However, Mrs.... (full context)