Short summary - Little Dorrit - Charles Dickens

British literature summaries - 2020

Short summary - Little Dorrit
Charles Dickens

Micro-retelling: It tells about the fate of the family of the weak and conceited bankrupt William Dorrit, who spent 20 years in the London Marshalsi Debt Prison. His youngest daughter Amy, having been born and raised in prison, remains modest, loyal and kind in all situations of life: when she has to work for a piece of bread, and when fate sends her family unexpected wealth.

Book One: Poverty

The action of the novel begins in the prison cell of Marseille with two prisoners - Rigot Blandois and Jean-Baptiste Cavaletto. Rigaud tells a cellmate that he was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to death. The second is punished for smuggling. Arthur Clennem, a young Englishman, who had lived in China for 30 years with his father, who before his death gave his son a watch with the initials “N. Z. ”(Do not forget), muttering“ Your mother. ” On the road, he meets the friendly Migles family. Arriving in London, Arthur tries to find out the meaning of the initials from his mother, but she refuses to explain anything. Mrs. Clennhem, although confined to a wheelchair, manages all of the firm's affairs with the help of Secretary Jeremiah Flintwinch and his wife, maidservant Effery. Arthur visits his former lover Flora Finching and finds her fat and uninteresting. In one of the cells of the Marshalsi Debt Prison, the insolvent debtor William Dorrit lives with his family. His name is "Father Marshalsi" - a title obtained for a long term imprisonment. Mr. Dorrit spent 23 years in prison. Here was born his youngest daughter Amy, who is affectionately called “Baby Dorrit” for fragility and small stature. She works as a seamstress in Mrs. Clennam’s house, contains her father in her labor, helps her unclean brother Tip, and takes care of her older sister, the dancer Fanny.

At his mother’s house, Mr. Clennam once meets Amy. Wanting to learn more about her, he tracks her down and goes to Marshalsi Prison, where he learns from the watchman her sad fate. Arthur meets with William Dorrit and expresses his respect for him, handing a few coins, and after asking for forgiveness from Amy for the invasion of personal life. The next day, he again stumbles upon Baby Dorrit, who is accompanied by Maggie - a young girl suffering from mental disorders. As a result of a longer conversation, he finds out the names of the debtors of Father Marshalsi. The most important of them is Tit Polyp - an influential member of the Ministry of Volokita. Mr. Clennem visits the facility several times, but it does not bring any results. After one of his visits, he meets Mr. Migles, accompanied by Daniel Doyce, a talented young inventor. Mr. Migles invites Arthur to stay at his country estate. Mr. Clennem accepts the invitation and, in a few days, sets off to visit the Migles family. Their daughter - Baby - impresses him, but he is confused by the age difference and the fact that she already has a boyfriend, Henry Gowan. By coincidence, Daniel Doyce is also in the Migles cottage. Arthur offers him business cooperation and he agrees.

Meanwhile, young John Cheever, who had long had a tender feeling for Amy Dorrit, finally confesses her love to her, however, she delicately replies that there can be nothing between them except friendship. After she goes to her sister in the theater and from a conversation with her, she finds out that she had a boyfriend - Edmund Spalker - the son of a wealthy banker, Mr. Murdle. Arthur and Daniel Doyce open the company "Doyce and Clennhem." On the very first working day, Flora and Aunt Mr. F. come to hang them. Later, Panks also joins them. Left alone, Arthur will ask Panks to do the work of Father Marshalsi and try to find out as much as possible about him. Panks agrees and assures Arthur that he will do everything possible.

At the same time, Jean-Baptiste Cavaletto is released from prison and, with the assistance of Arthur, settles in the Compound of the Bleeding Heart, where he now lives by honest labor. Almost at the same time, his cellmate - Rigo Blundois, who now calls himself "Doe", comes out of the conclusion. He arrives in London and immediately goes to Mrs. Clennem, with a fake letter of recommendation. He tries to flatter her, but when he realizes that it is useless, he gets down to business and declares that he needs a loan of £ 50. However, Mrs. Clennum states that the firm cannot give a loan of this size. Then Blandois asks permission to inspect the house and stumbles upon a clock with the initials “N. Z. " He states with unambiguous hints that he not only knows their decoding, but also has information about the meaning of the clock. To all the elderly lady reacts very calmly, and asks Monsieur Blandois, if he has no more questions, to leave. The latter does so.

Arthur finally decides to continue caring for Baby and soon makes her an offer, which she, however, refuses, saying that she is already engaged to Henry Gowan. The Panks trial in the case of William Dorrit is moving forward, he suddenly finds out that Father Marshalsi is the only heir to a huge fortune. Upon learning of this, Amy informs her father, who is confused by the sudden message. Arthur helps the Dorrit family pay off debts legally. When all matters regarding inheritance become settled, Mr. Dorrit decides that the family needs to leave London and go on a trip to Europe. On the day of departure, Baby Dorrit faints, and Arthur in her arms takes her out of prison to put her in a carriage. The Dorrites leave, and Marshalsi remains an orphan.

Book Two: Wealth

Dorrites travel across Europe. They are accompanied by Mrs. General, teaching William's daughters secular manners. Everyone does not want to remember about the prison. Little Dorrit is forbidden to take care of his father, reproached that she does not honor family dignity. She is alone and bored. On the way, they meet the newlyweds Gowen. Amy makes friends with Baby and writes letters to her about Arthur, believing that he loved her. Mr. Gowan meets Blandois and they become close friends. However, Amy and Baby do not like the new acquaintance. Fanny easily becomes a socialite, conquers Mr. Sparkler and prepares to marry him.

One day, after John Chevery’s visit, Mr. Dorrit feels uneasy. At a secular dinner, he forgets himself, thinking that he is in Marshalsi and everything around him is a prisoner, and he addresses them with a speech. Amy is barely taking her father away. He dies, and after him Frederick. Blandois travels to London. He is interested in Arthur. As a result of surveillance of him, he meets him with Miss Wade.

Everyone is talking about Murdle’s venture, investing, Panks convinces Arthur to invest. Murdle is worshiped as the embodiment of wealth. Soon he commits suicide, all who invested money in his company - Dorrites, Panks, Arthur Clennem - bankrupt. Arthur is arrested for debt and imprisoned in Marshalsi. Doyce goes abroad, where he successfully works as an engineer. In prison, John takes care of Arthur and opens his eyes for the first time that Little Dorrit loves him. Panks and Cavaletto find Blandois. Amy arrives and takes care of Arthur, the prison depresses him and he falls ill. Panks and Cavaletto find Blandois.

Rigaud visits Mrs. Clennam again and demands money, otherwise he will reveal to Arthur the secret of his birth. Arthur's father was a weak-willed fellow, his uncle married him to an imperious woman, she found out that she had a rival, began to take revenge, and took her child - Arthur. But uncle left her money in the registry to the will of either the youngest daughter or niece of her patron (and this is Frederick Dorrit, that is, Amy should have got the money). Mrs. Clennem hid this, with Jeremiah she wanted to burn the postscript, but he saved her, handed her over to his twin brother, and from that she got to Rigaud. Now she has a package with copies of documents from Little Dorrit, and if Mrs. Clennem doesn't pay, she and Arthur will find out. But there is no money, and Mrs. Clennem gets up and herself rushes to the prison like a madman. She reveals everything to Amy, but asks not to tell Arthur until her death, Amy promises to keep the secret. They return to the gloomy house, which is crumbling before their eyes, burying Blandois underneath. Flintwinch runs with expensive things from home. Mrs. Clennam falls dead. Amy burns a will. With the assistance of Dois, Arthur is released. Amy Dorrit and Arthur Clennam get married.