Bleak House: Justice Served Essay

1753 words - 8 pages

Pauline Kim
Professor Spear
British Literature II

Literary Analysis
6 April 2014

Bleak House: Justice Served

Bleak House written by Charles Dickens is a representation of the corruption of England’s court system as the author clearly sets out to criticize the cornerstones of the nation. Through his novel, Dickens redeems the idea of justice by bringing Inspector Bucket into the plotline as a spokesman for the people seeking the truth. Dickens presents the detective/police as the symbol of true justice who serves the law with good intentions for the people. The contrast of these two types of justice systems is that Inspector Bucket serves the law with the true interest of people while the lawyers of the Court do it for their own gain and personal interests. The Jarndyce and Jarndyce case is the main factor in which these differences can be seen. Through the comparison of the Court of Chancery and its lawyers which is represented by Tulkinghorn and Vholes with the detective/police who is represented by Inspector Bucket, the intentions and opinions of Dickens are loudly voiced and justice truly served.

In Bleak House, Dickens presents an ironic case that condemns England’s legal system which in this case is the Court of Chancery. The Court of Chancery represented England’s justice system and held the role as Keeper of the King’s Conscience by the Lord High Chancellor. The Court of Chancery had authority over all matters of equity which include anything with criminal cases, trusts, land law, wills, guardianship, estates, marriage, and adoption. They had jurisdiction over many of these things to avoid any injustice that arose from the common law. Despite their role, the Court is shown with bitterness towards their institution as Dickens sets out to critique their system. In society, the Court of Chancery is a system of justice, however throughout the plot, Chancery is being portrayed in a negative light as the most unjust system. Bleak House exposes the flaws in the British Court of Chancery as Dickens portrays a rather useless court that has been ineffective with the wrong pursuit of the Jarndyce and Jarndyce lawsuit. Jarndyce and Jarndyce is the central lawsuit of Bleak House that Dickens has created from inspiration of a similar case that lasted nearly as long as the fictional case. In the novel, he uses the lawsuit to critique the corruption as it challenges the daily lives of the people involved and only creates further injustice. Throughout the novel, there are a countless number of individuals that have been tainted by the case and it has been through the corruption of the Court that has driven people to commit suicide and invest their whole lives into it until they are ruined. In evaluation of the justice system, it is fair to say that justice depends upon a form of injustice, and so it seems that with the best interest of Chancery, the case ends up with consequences of more injustice as the court makes money by redressing...

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