The Noodle and Hard Times

29 Jan

I have just finished reading Hard Times. It took me longer than usual because I put it away for a few days, as I could not get into the first few chapters. This is only my second Dickens, but I liked it very well. And chapter nine of the second book provided me with a great laugh and a new favorite epithet: Noodle. Here’s the quote:

“Yet it is an indubitable fact, within the cognizance of this history, that five minutes after he had left the house in the self same hat, the same descendant of the Scadgerses and connexion by matrimony of the Powlers, shook her right-hand mitten at his portrait, made a contemptuous grimace at that work of art, and said “Serve you right, you Noodle, and I am glad of it!” Chapter 9, Book 2, Hard Times.

I had avoided Dickens for the longest time. I remember reading once that his novels were so long because he was paid by the word, and that was my greatest gripe (after watching tv adaptations of his work), that his plots were contrived and his characters exaggerated. But I have enjoyed what I have read so far, especially the irony and the social commentary. In Hard Times I liked Rachael and Stephen best; their tender and sad story is more interesting and better developed. Sissy as a woman needed a few more chapters  to bring her story to an end, I think, and the ending itself could have been more detailed. But on the whole a very satisfying read.

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