Dombey and Son

I could use this 1,000 page book as a weapon of self-defense if need be. This brick has dogged me for the past week, I reluctantly tucking it into backpack (all 1000 pages) in case of a spare few minutes. Today, 400 pages from the finish line, I knew I’d create enough time to Dombey on through the end, et voila! here I am. Described by Kate Millett as a “nearly perfect indictment of both patriarchy and capitalism,” I had to read the story. Dombey runs a prosperous trading company, and we encounter him eagerly facing his newborn son as his first wife fades from the face of the earth. Son Paul follow suit after a few years, and older daughter Florence is cruelly ignored by her father. All the intricate Dickensian plot twists are here, with the old woman Brown who steals young Florence’s dress, sending her into Walter’s arms for refuge (they end up marrying), second wife Edith haughty but inexplicably melting and tender toward Florence (the first affection F has received since her mother died soon after Paul’s birth). A very strange relationship with Mr. Carker (and his older brother/sister who end up inheriting his wealth after Evil Carker is mown down by a train. I can’t possibly cram all 1000 pages of plot here. Let us not forget the incomparable Cap’n Cuttle, black-eyed Susan (the maid who marries Mr. Toots), Walter and his uncle, Miss Tox (hankering for Dombey’s widowed hand in marriage), Mrs Pipchin the schoolmarm turned housekeeper, Polly Tootles (inexplicably named Richards by the family when she comes to nurse Paul), and the bug-eyed Major. Only thin/unbelievable part was the running away of Mrs. Dombey #2 (Edith) with Evil Carker – why would he think that he’d beguiled her?