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April 26, 2009


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Now that's dedication, Paul! :-) To answer your question about Mrs. Clennam: In the miniseries, she died right away (presumably from shock and stress); in the book, she lingered for some time -- a couple of years, I think -- in a catatonic state before dying.

I have just watched the final episoded twice. It seems they were Arthur's baby-booties/shoes in the wooden box, surely too small to be dancers shoes as you wrote? That makes sense. The box was Arthur's treasure as it turned out.
But what happened to Amy Little Dorrit's inheritance? It is not mentioned again. We know that Dad Dorrit and Arthur and everyone invested in crooked Bank, but where was the legacy from the grandfather Gilbert Clennam invested in trust for Amy? It is not mentioned. If the legacy was to come to her, why did she say "I have nothing" to Arthur, when it was her father Dorrit's fortune which was lost in the failed bank, nothing ever said about her own legacy entrusted to her from Gilbert Clennam.?

Another puzzling anomaly: final episode when Amy and Arthur are in Marshalsea discussing their love, Arthur says a line I am almost twice your age. Were they not born on the same day according to Dickens' story? this clearly does not make sense, is it an error of the script-writer?
The glaring omission from the ending, as questioned by me in previous post is: what happened to Amy's "legacy" fortune, which is never explained. The legacy which existed in the Will or codicil of Gilbert Clennam, but never resolved, as she announced herself penniless.
It's beyond comprehension, Scriptwriter.

No, they weren't born on the same day. If I remember correctly, she was born right around the time that he was leaving for China.

And yes, they left the legacy for Amy out of the miniseries. Confusing, I know!

Thankyou for confirming my impression re the legacy being not addressed. Rather sloppy for an otherwise top miniseries, what a letdown of an ending. Thankyou for taking the time to inform me of things. This is wonderful of you.

Happy to help!

In the legal world, if someone dies "intestate" (with no will), the items are distributed "per stirpes"...the way I understand it, because Fredrick Dorrit had no heirs, next the inheritance would go to Fredrick's parents (presumed deceased), and then next the inheritance would go to his brother - or maybe to Amy Dorrit because that is what the bequest specified. (I am no lawyer.) But that is how the inheritance MIGHT have gotten to Amy.

Omg THANK YOU for explaining this; I wa.s so confused toward the end. Imagine my discomfort watching Amy and Arthur fall in love because I thought the whole time that Amy was the love child. And to get to the end and learn the twist only to be left befuddled as to who Amy's real parents were...I couldn't t enjoy the most romantic part of the whole movie because I was grossed out thinking Amy was kissing her half brother. The movie did a poor job of explaining Amy's connection to the family. I searched and searched and finally found this post that explained the whole thing. Now I can go to sleep.

P.s. It's crazy how Mrs. Clemens felt more affection to Amy than the child than Arthur. It makes sense to me why the filmmakers felt they had to change her motive...making the affair between Arthur's father and biological mother and extramarital event as opposed to the novel's premarital one. Had it remained the latter, those of us watching two centuries later would have only been left with a WTF response. I mean, having a baby out of wedlock is no big deal these days, but an extramarital love child? Now THATS a scandle.

I just watched the whole miniseries and I think there is domestic violence implied when Pet says that marriage isn't at all what she expected. If not violence, at least some pretty unpleasant experiences for her in bed. Henry is so inconsiderate, despite his claims of love for Pet, that her new attitude toward him and marraige can't entirely be explained by the Frenchman's presence or Henry's insistence on his enjoyment of the Frenchman's company.

Also, I, too was confused by the explanation of the family secret and have found the explanation here very, very helpful. The loose ends at the end of the story, and the seeming evaporation of Amy's legacy, bothered me, but not as much as wondering about poor Pet's future with awful Henry. The look on his face when he sees his new baby said it all. He is too self-absorbed to be a decent father, or husband once his wife has the demands of motherhood placed on her.

Another's anomaly. In the miniseries, near the end, Aurthur says he got a letter from his real mother and that she loves him. I thought she had died in the asylum.??

Love all of this! Thank you so much!

Sorry, I seem to have found this spot rather late. I have been in the process of preparing a monograph relating to all the medical conditions described by CD.
Very interesting conversation. Yes, I agree that amongst all Dickens' works, Little Dorrit is full of surprises and mysteries.

I also agree that Andrew Davies ought not to have changed the ending, which in a way I consider a sacrilege as it ruins what CD had intended. I say so because CD's mastery and genius leaves no room for his narrative to be tampered with. Will come back with a few issues/questions later.

Thanks Gina for your detailed explanation. I've watched the BBC adaption a few times and was also confused and left with the impression that Amy and Arthur were half-brother and half-sister. Couldn't quite see that the Georgians would be happy reading about such an incestuous relationship in a newspaper serial. It also raised the equally confounding question of why Mr Dorritt would claim Amy as his daughter if she was of no relationship to him at all.
So pleased I now understand the complexities of the characters' backgrounds much better.

Just getting to your site in May 2016! I was always baffled by the financial doings in Little Dorrit. I have been confused since mini series! I am so glad I now have some answers. I could have read the book, but I was not that interested.

Hi Marilyn -- glad we could help! But I do recommend the book as well. It's REALLY good. :-) Thanks for stopping by.

I just finished the book, Little Dorrit. I have not seen the miniseries yet. I'm confused by a couplw of things in the book. 1
Why does the house explode? That was bizarre. 2. What was making the sounds Affery was so afraid of? It seemed Dickens made so much of this and then just dropped it and never explained it, other than Affery's comment that Arthur's mother was still alive in the house somewhere.

Ruth, the answers to your questions actually go together. The house was very old, neglected, and literally falling to pieces -- that was the source of the noises, and that was the reason it eventually crumbled to the ground.

I always have to read your excellent post after watching it, and this is the third time. :) It seems like it would've been simpler if Davies had used the original plot, but through a flashback sequence instead of a verbal explanation.

That said, this series has aged well. I only wish the BBC would make more like it! I'm starting to feel like the days of great adaptations are past. It's not to say that there aren't anachronisms in Little Dorrit (definitely some), but overall it's of a better caliber IMHO than some of their newer dramas.

Arthur's mother was Lizzy. Don't you have read little dorrit in detail.

So glad you're still enjoying it, Marian! :-)

Rebecca, no, I don't believe we ever learn Arthur's mother's name. The only people who discuss her -- Mrs. Clennam, Jeremiah, Affery, and Blandois -- never refer to her by name.

Andrew Davies's screenwriting — excellent in most respects — fell down IMO by failing to explain what happened to Amy's legacy. Not having read the novel, I couldn't understand why she was left (albeit happily) penniless until Doyce arrived. I am enormously grateful to blbarnitz for explaining everything. And of course many thanks to Gina for the blog!

Just watched this. Confused like everyone else. Thanks for youre explaination. So glad they weren't brother and sister. We were afraid. There were great actors here: the fat girl, Amy's dad, and Mr. Sparklesby. I must read the book!.

I've just finished watching the Andrew Davies miniseries on DVD. I had worked out that Arthur was not the child of Mrs Clennam and that he and Amy were not related, though I didn't make the connection via Frederick. The thing that puzzled me was, why did Miss Wade have the box with the shoes (or bootees) and letter from Arthur's mother? I read the book many years ago but don't remember this bit at all.

Blandois gave it to her for safekeeping.

I'm much later then anyone else on here, but I just watched all of little dorrit online and was so confused at the ending that I googled the plot explanation to understand the ending and why Arthur's grandpa or uncle in the book, would leave little Amy dorrit any money at all. Unless she was his grand-daughter or niece in the book, making her half sister to Arthur. I thought as a lot of people sis that Arthur n Amy had the same mom, but not giving birth so far apart as 20 years. Less, like 10 years maybe. So as many others were, I was confused as to how they could marry, after knowing all the truths of their lives. I know people used to marry their cousins or further distant relations (which is icky enough), but not half siblings I hope. I'm glad that this blog explains everything and that any and Arthur aren't related at all. But still end up wealthy, in spite of Mr.dorrit losing his fortune, and the house of clenham literally falling. I had wondered about the money left over that would've still gone to Arthur as Mr. Clenham's son. Now that someone said the 2nd twin flintwich stole it n ran off to Amsterdam, plus any burning the will of money left to her, her 2nd smaller fortune lost. But if the dorrit estate was still accumulating money wouldn't there be something left for her n siblings? I guess not if her dad was so foolish to move literally every type of funding they had to the merdles scam. I remember something the queen said in another favorite of mine. "The white queen" Did you really expect me to keep all my jewels in 1 basket? She was talking about both her son's the princes, not money. But the concept is the same. She had sense enough to remove 1 son n hide him away for safe keeping since she couldn't hide both. When people came to kill her son's, they got 1 Prince and an imposter. Mr. Dorrit should've done the same with his money. As they say, never put all your eggs in one basket. In case that basket falls, they all break. Sound advice in whatever you're trying to protect.

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