Bleak House

Bleak House

by

Charles Dickens

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Mrs. Smallweed Character Analysis

Mrs. Smallweed is the wife of Mr. Smallweed and the grandmother of Judy Smallweed and Bart Smallweed. Mrs. Smallweed is an elderly woman who suffers from dementia. She spends her days sitting in her chair opposite her husband, who throws a pillow at her face every time she speaks. Although Mrs. Smallweed is now a frail, helpless character, in her youth she was just as greedy and obsessed with wealth as her husband. This is made clear in the fact that all she does in her old age is shout out amounts of money and make vague references to stashes of money which are hidden around the house and which Mr. Smallweed wishes to keep secret. Mrs. Smallweed is Krook’s sister; this connection is revealed after Krook’s death when Mr. Smallweed gleefully inherits the contents of Krook’s shop on his wife’s behalf.

Mrs. Smallweed Quotes in Bleak House

The Bleak House quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Smallweed or refer to Mrs. Smallweed. 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 21 Quotes

Everything that Mr. Smallweed’s grandfather ever put away in his mind was a grub at first, and is a grub at last. In all his life he has never bred a single butterfly. The father of this pleasant grandfather, of the neighborhood of Mount Pleasant, was a horny-skinned, two-legged, money-getting species of spider, who spun webs to catch unwary flies, and retired into holes until they were entrapped. The name of this old pagan’s God was Compound Interest.

Page Number: 248
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Smallweed Character Timeline in Bleak House

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Smallweed appears in Bleak House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 21
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Bart Smallweed lives with his elderly grandparents in a spot called Mount Pleasant. Mrs. Smallweed is mad and unable to care for herself, and Mr. Smallweed is paralyzed from the... (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
...the table behind them. She says that Bart will be home in “ten minutes” and Mrs. Smallweed suddenly begins to shout about “ten-pound notes” until Mr. Smallweed throws the pillow at her. (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...some time to finish his story, however, because he often breaks off to swear at Mrs. Smallweed . He concludes by telling them that they will inherit the family fortune and that... (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...starts with a D. George shakes Mr. Smallweed himself when he throws the cushion at Mrs. Smallweed , who has begun shouting again. George says that he likes to take a pipe... (full context)
Chapter 33
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
...Mr. Guppy reluctantly does so, with Mr. Weevle’s help. Judy and Bart follow, accompanied by Mrs. Smallweed . They deposit Mr. Smallweed in an armchair and he says that he has come... (full context)
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Passion, Obsession, and Madness Theme Icon
Mr. Smallweed tells them that Krook was Mrs. Smallweed ’s brother, and that they have come to take possession of the shop. Mrs. Smallweed... (full context)