Hard Times


Charles Dickens

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Hard Times: Book 2, Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

On a sunny day in Coketown, Mrs. Sparsit sits in her new living quarters attached to the Bank of Bounderby's factory, and chats Bitzer, now a young man and the Bank's porter. In their conversation, they discuss what a lazy young man Tom Gradgrind is.
Though these two gossipers are not much better, Tom Gradgrind has turned out to be a good-for-nothing. So much for the effectiveness of his father's education of facts.
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Someone knocks at the door to interrupt their somewhat malicious gossip, and Bitzer opens the door to admit a languid, well-dressed young gentleman who is trying to find Mr. Bounderby. Mrs. Sparsit is impressed by the man's manners and his flattery, and upon questioning, disdainfully reveals that contrary to this young man's beliefs, Louisa Bounderby is not a grim old hag, but a young woman. Upon the young man's departure to find Mr. Bounderby, Mrs. Sparsit sits for many hours, thinking and thinking about something ill-intentioned towards Louisa.
Mrs. Sparsit clearly still harbors a grudge against Louisa. While not explaining the thoughts that she has regarding Louisa, the implication of these thoughts occurring after the unknown gentleman leaves is that Mrs. Sparsit sees some way to use the man to get back at Louisa.
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