Bleak House

Bleak House


Charles Dickens

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Plaintiff Term Analysis

A plaintiff is a person who brings a lawsuit or legal case to a court of law. In Bleak House, characters such as Gridley, Richard Carstone, and Tom Jarndyce are all plaintiffs because they have paid a lawyer to take up an individual case and defend their role in a lawsuit, which is held in the court of Chancery. Gridley’s case is separate from Jarndyce and Jarndyce and is over his father’s property, whereas most of the other characters are plaintiffs in Jarndyce and Jarndyce. Mr. Jarndyce is a plaintiff because he has inherited the case from his relations, however, he takes no personal action and does not participate in the progress of the case.

Plaintiff Quotes in Bleak House

The Bleak House quotes below are all either spoken by Plaintiff or refer to Plaintiff. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 1 Quotes

This is the Court of Chancery; which has its decaying houses and its blighted lands in every shire; which has its worn-out lunatic in every madhouse, and its dead in every churchyard; which has its ruined suitor, with his slipshod heels and threadbare dress, borrowing and begging through the round of every man’s acquaintance; […] there is not an honorable man among its practitioners who would not give—who does not often give—the warning, ‘Suffer any wrong that can be done you, rather than come here!’

Related Characters: Richard Carstone, Miss Flite
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

‘We are never to get out of Chancery! We have come by another way to our place of meeting yesterday, and—by the Great Seal, here’s the old lady again!’

Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

A little way within the shop-door, lay heaps of old crackled parchment scrolls, and discolored and dog’s-eared law- papers […] One had only to fancy, as Richard whispered to Ada and me while we all stood looking in, that yonder bones in a corner, piled together and picked very clean, were the bones of clients, to make the picture complete.

Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

She partly drew aside the curtain of the long low garret-window, and called our attention to a number of bird-cages hanging there: some containing several birds. There were larks, linnets, and goldfinches—I should think at least twenty. ‘I began to keep the little creatures,’ she said, ‘with an object that the wards will readily comprehend. With the intention of restoring them to liberty. When my judgment should be given. Ye-es! They die in prison, though. Their lives, poor silly things, are so short in comparison with Chancery proceedings, that, one by one, the whole collection has died over and over again.’

Related Characters: Esther Summerson (speaker), Miss Flite (speaker), Ada Clare, Richard Carstone, Caddy Jellyby
Related Symbols: Miss Flite’s Birds
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 39 Quotes

The one great principle of the English law is, to make business for itself. There is no other principle distinctly, certainly, and consistently maintained through all its narrow turnings. Viewed by this light it becomes a coherent scheme, and not the monstrous make the laity are apt to think it. Let them but once clearly perceive that its grand principle is to make business for itself at their expense, and surely they will cease to grumble.

Related Characters: Mr. Vholes
Page Number: 467
Explanation and Analysis:
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Plaintiff Term Timeline in Bleak House

The timeline below shows where the term Plaintiff appears in Bleak House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Social Mobility, Class, and Lineage Theme Icon
Law vs. Justice Theme Icon
Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, and Kindness Theme Icon
...and Jarndyce, which was in court that day and in which Lady Dedlock is a plaintiff (someone who is potentially owed money in a legal dispute). Lady Dedlock is bored with... (full context)