Our Mutual Friend

by Charles Dickens

Start Free Trial

What are key sections in Our Mutual Friend involving Lizzie?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 1, Lizzie is helping her father.  There is an interesting exchange between Lizzie and her father when she is afraid of sitting so close to the body they fished from the river.  He asks her what hurt it can do her.

‘None, none. But I cannot bear it.’

‘It’s my belief you hate the sight of the very river.’

‘I—I do not like it, father.’

‘As if it wasn’t your living! As if it wasn’t meat and drink to you!’ (ch 1, p. 5)

Lizzie’s reaction to the body, and her father’s treatment of her, sets the tone for the story and their relationship.  This also foreshadows Lizzie’s importance in the story later.

Another important part is when Miss Abbey tells Lizzie something she thinks is terrible about her father.

‘It’s not an easy thing to tell a daughter, but it must be told. It is thought by some, then, that your father helps to their death a few of those that he finds dead.’ (ch 6, p. 68)

Lizzie is relieved because she does not think it’s true that her father murdered anyone.  Yet this intelligence causes Lizzie to go home and tell her brother Charley to leave, and when her father finds out he shakes his knife in emphasis and scares her.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial