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Hard Times Literary Essay

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Toni Nutt

on 7 March 2013

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Transcript of Hard Times Literary Essay

Mrs. Sparsit
Mrs. Sparsit is Bounderby's middle-aged housekeeper. She was born into money
and a high ranking family. Bounderby
loves to play up this history. She is
jealous of Louisa and, after Bounderby
and Louisa are married, Mrs. Sparsit
looks for any opportunity to bring
Louisa down. James Harthouse
Harthouse is a well-born young guy who is trying to get into Parliament. He's in the same political party as Gradgrind. He comes to Coketown to learn how to work the political process and get to know some money men like Bounderby. While there, he tries to seduce Louisa and almost succeeds. After she runs away from him, Sissy tells him to never show his face around town again. Stephen Blackpool
Stephen is a power loom operator in
Bounderby's factory. He married young,
and his wife has since become a raging
alcoholic. Stephen is in love with Rachael, another factory worker, but can't be with
her because he can't get a divorce. Tom Gradgrind
Tom is Louisa's brother, and is raised in the same manner that she is. He ends up a degenerate gambler who robs Bounderby's bank to pay his debts. Tom then has to be smuggled abroad in order to avoid going to prison. After many years in exile, he becomes remorseful, but dies on the trip back to England. Josiah Bounderby
Bounderby is a successful capitalist who owns a factory and a bank in Coketown. He brags about having grown up an orphan, and marries Louisa Gradgrind hoping to make her a trophy wife. In the end, she leaves him, his stories about his childhood turn out to be lies, and he dies of a fit in the street. Louisa Gradgrind
We watch Louisa, Gradgrind's daughter
and human guinea pig, grow from about
twelve to about twenty-two years old.
Her dad raises her to disregard emotions
and see everything in terms of facts or
statistics. Thomas Gradgrind
Gradgrind is a middle-class businessman and later a Member of Parliament. More importantly, he is the owner and operator of the educational system Dickens is dead set against. Grandgrind's system is based on the idea that only facts, math, and the measurable are important. He thinks that touchy-feely things like emotions and creativity should be repressed. Gradgrind raises his own kids according to his theory. Characters SYMBOLS
Symbols are objects,
characters, figures, or
colors used to represent
abstract ideas or concepts. MOTIFS
Motifs are recurring structures,
contrasts, or literary devices that
can help to develop and inform the
text’s major themes. THEMES
Themes are the fundamental
and often universal ideas
explored in a literary work. Grading/Point Values
Assignment Point Value: 300
Required Length
Pages: 3–5
Word Count: 900–1,500
DUE March 18th Cite specific examples from the novel in your response. Analyze how the novel’s three sections convey Dickens’ central message about rationality and logic in mid nineteenth-century England. Explain how each book’s title relates to the events, characters, and themes that Dickens addresses in it. Charles Dickens’s Hard Times is a novel divided into three books. These books are titled “Sowing,” “Reaping,” and “Garnering.” The introduction should state your
thesis about how each book’s title
relates to the characters, events, and
themes of that section and how the novel’s
three sections convey Charles Dickens’s
central message about life in
mid-nineteenth-century England
in this novel. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…. A literary essay is not the place
to convey personal opinions and
commentary unrelated to the literary
analysis. Make sure to analyze the
literature rather than offering opinions unrelated to your analysis.
  A literary analysis should state
the name of the novel and the
author in the introduction. You
should mention Hard Times by
Charles Dickens in the first
paragraph. REMEMBER! To do so, you must demonstrate that you understand how each section of the novel relates to the others and shows readers how Dickens views elements like his characters’ behaviors, the events he describes, and the big ideas that influence their lives.

Why are the messages of each section important?
What do the fates of various characters teach readers about the issue of rationality and logic that Dickens considers important? How do you address the overall
message that Dickens conveys in
the novel? Be detailed in your description of
this character or event or theme.
What happens to the characters
in this section?
How do they react or behave?
How do they think?
Why do they think as they do?
How does this relate to Dickens’s
central message about rationality and logic
in this society as a whole? As they sowed, as they
reaped, so must they
reassemble what is left. Bounderby, returning to
bachelorhood and exposed
as a fraud, garners a life of
loneliness, dying perhaps
in the streets of Coketown. Thomas Gradgrind, after
realizing the failure of his
system, tries to help his
children to pick up the pieces
of his and their shattered lives. Garner
1. To gather and store in or as
if in a granary.
2. To amass; acquire.
3. An accumulation or collection
of something. Garnered….Just as the biblical
Ruth garnered in the fields of
Boaz picking up the wheat
dropped by the reapers, so do
the characters garner or pick up
what the grim reapers of
experience have left behind. Each character reaped
a harvest of his own
making. Stephen planted seeds
of discontent and reaped
ostracism by his kind. Tom, the seeds
of dishonesty
produced a
harvest of loneliness
and destruction. Louisa Gradgrind Bounderby,
sowed with the seeds of
facts, reaped unhappiness. Mr. Gradgrind's seeds of
logic and facts led to
disillusionment and
destruction. Mr. Bounderby, having sowed
seeds of unkindness, reaped
an unhappy marriage and the
loss of his wife. We can take a look
how some of the
major characters elate to this concept.... such as… Reap
1. To cut (grain or pulse) for harvest with a scythe,
sickle, or reaper.
2. To harvest (a crop).
3. To harvest a crop from: reaping a field.
4. To obtain as a result of effort: She reaped large profits from her unique invention.
  The Reaping…. Consisting of
twelve chapters, the second
book depicts the harvest — meager
for some, abundant for others. The characters that Dickens introduces
as a contrast to Gradgrinds belief of
conformity would be the “circus folk.”
They live by the motto….” Make the
best of it [life], not the worst.” This
continues to be a mystery to Gardgrind
and his black and white world of facts. You even see this “fact, not fancy”
in the way that Dickens describes
the town of Coketown; it is all about
conformity. All the buildings are so
much alike you cannot distinguish
them from one another. Our main character, Gradgrind
is only interested in facts, so
much that he does not even try
to learn the student’s names, he
refers to them as numbers. The seeds he is planting relates
to the themes of the book….
Fact, not Fancy
of sense, not sentimentality;
of conformity, not curiosity
There is only proof, not poetry The Sowing…..Charles Dickens
uses the book “Sowing” and
the 16 chapters to plant the
seeds of his characters and the
plot in the readers minds. He
introduces you to his characters
and begins to develop the plot
in the pages of this first book. Sow  
1. To scatter (seed) over the ground for growing.
2. To spread (land, for example) with seed.
3. To strew something around or over (an area);
distribute something over.
4. To propagate; disseminate: sow rumors.
  Book One consists of sixteen
chapters in which are sown not
only the seeds of the plot, but also
the seeds of the characters. As
these seeds are sown, so shall
they be reaped. Mrs. Gradgrind
Mrs. Gradgrind is passive, sickly, dim-witted, and not very present in the novel or in her children's lives. Gradgrind basically says that he married her because she had no personality whatsoever and thus would not get in the way of his education plans for his kids. He's right. Mrs. Gradgrind has one bright moment just before she dies. She suddenly realizes that Louisa and Tom are missing a key ingredient in becoming normal human beings. Even then, however, she can't actually say what that might be, and in any case it's already too late. Mrs. Pegler
Mrs. Pegler is the little old woman who comes to town once a year to gaze at Bounderby. She is revealed to be his mom, whom he pays to stay away, because he tells everyone who will listen that he grew up practically an orphan in the streets. Instead, of course, what he has is a mom who loves him so much that she's willing to go along with this crazy arrangement as long as it's for his benefit. Mrs. Blackpool
There's not too much to say about
Stephen's wife, Mrs. Blackpool.
She is an alcoholic who periodically
comes to sell off all of Stephen's stuff.
She is the reason he and Rachael
can't get together. Bitzer
As a boy, Bitzer is Gradgrind's best student.
As a young man, he becomes the light
porter at Bounderby's bank, spies on Tom
and the other clerks, and only follows
the economic principle of complete
self-interest. At the end, he catches
Tom trying to flee abroad and tries to
bring him back to for the reward before
being outwitted by the circus performers. Rachael
Rachael is a factory worker who was
childhood friends with Stephen's wife.
She is now in love with Stephen, and
helps him deal with life as a friend.
After Stephen's death, she spends the
rest of her life taking care of his widow. Sissy Jupe
Sissy is the daughter of a circus performer, who comes to live with the Gradgrinds as a servant when her father abandons her. She is naturally good and emotionally healthy, so the Gradgrind philosophy doesn't affect her, and she is able to take care of Louisa and to arrange Tom's escape. At the end of the novel, she is the only character who gets a happy ending of marriage and children. Mismatched Marriages Bounderby’s Childhood Clocks and Time  
Galatians 6:7, "For whatsoever
a man soweth, that shall he
also reap." Use the notes you take in the Reading
Guide and the questions you answer in
both the Reading Guide and the
Student Guide to help you formulate
your response. How do the events and characters illustrate
themes and help to convey Dickens’
overall message on rationality and logic? How does the title of this section
relate to the characters, events,
and themes of the book? Smoke Serpents Fire Pegasus Staircase http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrO3GC_Rkb4 WATCH THE MOVIE!
READ THE BOOK! Education The Importance of Femininity Escape Officiousness and spying Fidelity Industrialism Surveillance and Knowledge Head versus Heart Honesty The Opposition Between Fact and Fancy The Mechanization of Human Beings You must understand what
Mrs. Pegler’s character reveals
about Mr. Bounderby. What is a foil?
The term ‘foil’ refers to a literary device
where the author creates a character
whose primary purpose is to create a
contrast to another character by laying
emphasis or drawing attention to the
latter’s traits and characteristics
through the former’s obviously
contradictory ones. A name given to a
literary character
that is descriptive
of a quality or trait
of the character . What is a charactonym ? Charles Dickens wrote
Hard Times in 1854,
a time period known
as the Industrial
Revolution. What does Thomas Gradgrind’s
change of heart at the end of
the novel reveal about him? Read and understand the
different uses of
symbolism from the novel.
HINT….I sent you a
document with the
themes, motifs and
symbols from the book!
In Hard Times, Dickens shows himself as a great satirist. Hard Times is predominantly a satirical novel, and it shows in an abundant measure Dickens' masterly use of irony, his tremendous capacity for sarcasm, and his great power of ridicule. Mrs. Nutt’s Helpful Hints
for the Unit Test!
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