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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The "nicest" character in world literature?

Without question Esther Summerson is the "nicest" character in world literature - did she ever for two seconds have a thought or said a word or done a thing that wasn't kind, considerate, helpful, sympathetic, or wise? Did she ever for a second have a scintilla or self-pity, despite all the hardships of her life? Did she ever for a second put her self-interest ahead of the interest of any of her friends, or anyone? She seems in fact for at least half the book perfectly content to never have a love life of her own so long as her two best friends can be in love with each other. The love song her swain might sing to her would be: Come live w/ me and be my housekeeper. In fact - it's too much. We know that Dickens does things to the extreme, but her case is too much. She's so likable that she's on the verge of becoming unlikable. Please, Esther: Tell someone off. Lose your cool. Grab the last slice of cake. Stub your toe and swear. Anything.

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