Hard Times

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Being able to express your feelings and think creatively is something most of us take for granted. Imagine what life would be like if you based your experiences on facts alone and did not know what it was like to feel an emotion. Imagine what life would be like if you were raised in a routine and robotic way without having the opportunity to express independence or creativity. The novel Hard Times explores these issues and explains what happens in the lives of those who lack independence of thought, creativity, and feelings.
Curriculet Details
93 Questions
87 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This curriculet is written for 9th-10th grade students, and focuses around one of Charles Dickens' most popular novels--Hard Times. The curriculet includes a variety of digital annotations, which link to videos that explain Common Core concepts, show images that help the reader visualize elements in the story, or simply provide scaffolding and reflective questions to aid the reading process. The curriculet focuses on the themes of freedom versus oppression, the effects of industrial society, and the consequences of greed and hatred. There are Common Core aligned questions interspersed throughout the novel to help the reader dig deeper into the text and demonstrate understanding on a range of elements within the novel.

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Homework #5

Which of the following is NOT an intended effect of this highlighted passage?  
When you come across unfamiliar words, be sure to use the "Define" tool in this curriculet. Simply highlight a word, and select the "Define" tool. A list of definitions will pop up for most words. Let's practice! Use this tool with any unfamiliar word you have come across in this chapter.  

Homework #6

The "little pitchers" phrase is a metaphor for the school children. They are open vessels ready to be poured into. The tone the author uses, though, suggests that Mr. Gradgrind's approach is not a welcome one. He epitomizes the harsh school master. 
What main idea do the "gentleman" and Mr. Gradgrind attempt to make to the schoolchildren?  
Charles Dickens is a master of creating characters that emerge from the pages full of personality and obvious motives. Most of his characters represent an idea. Sometimes the characters' names give away their obvious meaning in the story. What do you think Mr. M'Choakumchild's name means?  

Homework #7

In what ways is Mr. Gradgrind's philosophy about life and education apparent in his actions? Use evidence from the text to support your response.  
Watch the video below to learn more about the difference between tone and mood. Notice how in the highlighted passage the author does not seem to be expressing his opinion--he simply states characteristics of the setting. This indicates that he is creating a certain mood. What kind of mood do you think is created from his description? (This annotation contains a video)
Which word best describes the mood the author creates as he describes the traveling circus performers?  
Dicken's is a master at conveying the mood in his stories through the use of contrasting emotions. Here we begin to learn of Louisa, the stifled daughter of Mr. Gradgrind. She is naturally curious and imaginative but her father makes her restrain herself. How would you feel if a parent held you back from being your natural self? 
What theme does Louisa's conflict with her father highlight? 

Homework #8

Mr. Bounderby is very similar to Mr. Gradgrind. However, the author suggests that he is "so far off." Does this contradict what the author just said? No. This is an example of the author's tone. His suggestion implies that he believes both of these men are not nearly the great men they think themselves to be.  
What concept about Mr. Bounderby do his comments in this highlighted phrases reinforce? 
Josiah Bounderby is a self-made man. The self-made man is a common character in literature. He is a person who has no special circumstances, like a wealthy family, to help him become successful. He does it by effort and good choices. The Great Gatsby is another story of a self-made man. Many self-made men are impressive, but their extreme sense of self-reliance often becomes a weakness or tragic flaw.  
Which of the following inferences is MOST supported by the details in this highlighted passage?  
Louisa obviously dislikes her father. Why do you think she is so mad at him? 

Homework #9

Dickens is a master of imagery, and in this section of the text you can see how he uses figurative language and literary devices, like simile and metaphor to paint a picture in the mind of the reader. What overall tone do you think his initial description of Coketown conveys? 
What inference can you draw about Coketown based upon the description in this passage? 
What is the dialogue between Sissy and Mr. Bounderby in this scene MOST likely meant to convey? 
Mr. Bounderby has what one might call a "savior-complex." He believes too much in his own importance and thinks it is his duty to change the world to be more like him--educated, successful, self-made. Think ahead: What fate do most characters like this usually encounter?  

Homework #10

In what ways does the Gypsy culture create a more vivid picture of who Mr. Bounderby really is? Explain using evidence from the text.  
Jupe left his daughter, Sissy, behind with the other Gypsies. Children were often abandoned during these times in England, and the struggles of being a child are told often throughout Dickens' work. Some parents thought their children would be better cared for and have a better chance at having a successful future if they were cared for by someone else or the state.  
Which detail from this passage BEST indicates the compassionate tone the author has towards the circus performers? 
Themes often emerge through characters' actions. In this scene, Mr. Bounderby's insensitive remarks show that he represents "the excess of reason." Sissy and her compatriots represent "simple, emotional" people. The contrast between the two highlights a problem that existed during Dickens' time--the juxtaposition of the "know it alls" with the meek and imaginative.  
What line from this passage BEST indicates the unimportance children held during Dickens' time? 

Homework #11

Which of the following words BEST describes the feelings Mr. Bounderby has towards Mrs. Sparsit? 
Mrs. Sparsit, unlike Mr. Bounderby, came from an affluent upbringing. She experienced "high society" and is sophisticated. Why do you think that Mr. Bounderby often reminds her of the difference between their backgrounds? 
What does is the highlighted phrase meant to imply about Mrs. Sparsit?  
Mr. Bounderby is asking Sissy to forget her past and not to mention it to anyone. In a sense, he is asking her to disown her upbringing. Why do you think he would ask this of her? 
Why does Mr. Gradgrind refer to Sissy's reading material as "destructive nonsense"?  

Homework #12

It is obvious that Mr. Gradgrind dislikes literature. He even takes these kinds of books out of the public library so no one will read them! 
What is "Jaundiced Jail" a metaphor for? 
What theme does the "dark cavern" and "shadow" represent in this scene? 
The fire represents the repressed desires, passions, and imagination that hide within Louisa. Her brother, Tom, does not burn with the same kind of passion, but at least recognizes that his sister has a desire to be something other than the mechanized, rationally minded version of human her dad wants her to be.  
What do the concluding events of this chapter reveal about Mrs. Gradgrind?  

Homework #13

Sissy has grown up a free-spirited, emotional girl, full of wonder, excitement, and affection. In an attempt to please her father and be reunited with him, she wishes she could be more like Louisa--someone who is successful within the system of this industrialized world. Why might Sissy's desire be considered ironic? 
In what way do numbers have a dehumanizing effect on Sissy? Explain using three examples from this chapter.  
How is Tom MOST unlike his sister, Louisa? 
What inference can be drawn based on the last line of this chapter? 

Homework #14

The "Hands" are the working class. The uneducated, poor men, women, and children who have no upward social mobility, but are fixed in their social class as the laborers. Hands play an important role in the industrial society because they use them to operate machines and the functions of these machines.  
Take a moment and think about how the setting of this story affects its characters. Stephen is constantly around machines. Close your eyes and imagine what you would do if you were around a machine all day long, all week long, all year long. How would this monotony affect you? 
The novel's title is contained in this conversation. When you hear Hard Times, what do you think of? Most people think of economic depression. But the "hard times" mentioned here by Stephen and Rachael seem to mean something different. Think about the meaning of this phrase as you read on, and whether or not it has to do with economic depression at all. 
What does Rachael and Stephen's conversation MOST reveal about Stephen? 
Why does Stephen MOST likely let his wife stay with him?  

Homework #15

The image below shows an industrial town probably very similar to the main setting in this novel. The "serpents of smoke" are the ashes that factories produce from manufacturing goods. The description is related to the shape of the smoke, but also has a deeper meaning. What do snakes usually represent and why would they be applied to these factories? (This annotation contains an image)
According to Dickens in this passage, what is the MOST concerning limitation of mathematics?  
Why does Mr. Bounderby constantly refer to his and Mrs. Sparsit's background? Use evidence from the text to support your response.  
Dickens is a master at developing complex characters. These characters, like a good plot, develop over time. Watch the following video below to learn more about how characters develop, and be prepared to respond to questions that focus on what and who makes these figures change over the course of this novel. (This annotation contains a video)
Stephen is implying that he wants a divorce. The subject of divorce was very taboo in England during the 19th century. In fact, it was forbidden in much of Western Europe by the church up until the last hundred or so years.  
What contrast does Stephen's request for a divorce MOST reveal about the characters in this chapter? 

Homework #16

What about this old woman MOST creates an element of suspense? 
Think for a moment about what this woman represents. She is old and from the country, and the industrialization of her world is new and attractive to her. Stephen, on the other hand, is a product of this system--trapped in his own world that he knows much better than her. What do you think Stephen thinks about this woman? 
The Tower of Babel story comes from the Old Testament. According to the story, one of the first civilizations on Earth had grown, too, in its industrial prowess. The people banded together to erect a building that would reach up to God in the heavens. When God saw this, he caused all the workers to suddenly speak different languages. Without a common tongue, they could not communicate or continue with their project. The image below provides one artist's portrayal of this scene.  (This annotation contains an image)
What theme does Stephen's inner dialogue BEST convey? 

Homework #17

It is interesting to note that Dickens probably named this character Rachel for a reason. A famous Old Testament love story is centered around a young boy named Jacob who leaves home to seek a wife, and finds a beautiful girl named Rachel. He wants to marry her, but is tricked by her father into marrying her sister, Leah, instead. He eventually marries both, but he, too, has a conflict over not loving the one he's with and wanting Rachel instead.  
The quote that Rachel states to Stephen is from Jesus and the New Testament. It was spoken before a group of men who were about to stone a woman for adultery. Why does Rachel quote this story to Stephen? 
Rachel appears to be an angel to Stephen. Her uninhibited love for his wife makes him feel ashamed of his own unloving feelings towards her. She loves whom he cannot--this makes him see "a glory shining around her head." 
What do we learn about Stephen based on how he does NOT prevent his wife's suicide attempt? Use evidence from the text to support your response.  
Stephen's conflict in this chapter is that he felt bad about actually wanting his wife to die. He almost let her, and could not act to save her. Rachel did. This is why he claims that she "saved my soul alive!". Stephen is not the only character in this story who struggles with an inner moral conflict. Can you think of others? 

Homework #18

What effect do Mr. Gradgrind and Bounderby's expectations have on Sissy? 
The personification of Time in this story helps the reader focus in on a central theme--time is fleeting and constant for everyone. Although a few characters, like Mr. Gradgrind and Bounderby, pride themselves on being objective and absolute with their reliance on math and facts, Time really is the only thing that is absolute for everyone because each person has a limited amount. Some characters are more aware of this than others. 
What significance do Louisa's actions have in this highlighted passage? 
A "woof" is a piece of fabric, and Louisa compares her life to a fabric that time is weaving together. Louisa is aware of how neither her father, nor her city, nor anything else can control her destiny--only Time. She doesn't know, however, what Time has in store for her.  

Homework #19

The "slate" refers to a chalkboard slate on which mathematical problems and calculations were made. As Dickens likes to point out, Mr. Gradgrind is very disconnected from humanity. 
Which of the following quotes from the text BEST illustrates how the setting advances the theme of time?  
There is a thirty year age difference between Louisa and Mr. Bounderby. Louisa's father is asking her NOT to be sentimental about marriage. As he works to arrange this marriage, think about how Louisa feels and how she responses to her father. How do you think she is taking this proposal? 
Why does Mr. Gradgrind have such a difficult time being emotionally vulnerable with his daughter? 
To the reader, this comment provides an example of irony--there is more going on than what is said between the father and his daughter. Mr. Gradgrind asks if his daughter if she has had any other boys she liked, and little does he know that he's held her captive all these years making it impossible for her to find even one boy. She can only respond respectfully, but we can tell that her heart is imprisoned to his rules and policies.  
"As she said it, she unconsciously closed her hand, as if upon a solid object, and slowly opened it as though she were releasing dust or ash." What do this quote and the highlighted passage have in common with Louisa's development in this story? Use evidence from the text to support your response.  

Homework #20

What inference can be made based on how Mrs. Sparsit responds to Mr. Bounderby? 
Part I Quiz 

Homework #22

The Atlantic in this phrase is the Atlantic Ocean. It refers to English people who journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a better home in America. The English threatened they would leave if not treated better.  
Why does the author use the repeated imagery of oil in this highlighted passage? 
Many characters in this novel have a very different view of themselves than others do. Consider the view Mrs. Sparsit has of herself versus the view the town has of her. Think of other characters in this novel who are equally deluded with their own grandeur. Why do you think they have such high opinions about themselves? 
Most of the characterization details in this chapter contribute to the satirical portrayal of Mrs. Sparsit's  
Mrs. Sparsit is too proud to let anyone know she is spying. This would make her appear ignoble. One can only help but think that Dickens is poking fun of this type of person--someone who thinks they are above everyone but really, in a moral sense, are below everyone.  
In modern times, we have a saying for this--a glass ceiling. Some people are led to believe that they can ascend as high as others in social status, wealth, success, but the truth is is that they are held back by the very same institutions that that spur them upward. We tell them that the sky is the limit, but really it's not! Can you think of a group of people who don't have the resources or support to succeed? Women? Racial minorities? 
How does Mrs. Sparsit MOST affect Bitzer? 
Which word BEST describes this strange visitor? 
In what ways do Bitzer and Mrs. Sparsit portray a deep sense of insecurity? Use evidence from the text to support your response.  

Homework #23

The theme of a novel is often better understood through the actions of characters. Before you learn more about James Harthouse, watch the video below to better understand how themes emerge. You will encounter questions throughout this novel that focus on determining how themes emerge and what helps develop them. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on his description, what theme does James Harthouse seem to MOST develop? 
This expression is similar to ours of "playing the part." Mr. Harthouse is pretending to be interested in Mr. Bounderby's way of life.  
Define the word "salubrious" in this highlighted passage. Based on how it is used, what mood is this word choice intended to convey? 
Once Mrs. Sparsit had left, Mr. Bounderby apparently took no time in replacing her with other people who remind him of aristocracy, wealth, and success. This is why they are referred to as "household gods."  
What can be inferred based upon the description of James in the highlighted passage? 
Mr. Harthouse notices that Louisa is lonely and has love only for her brother Tom. He picks her apart pretty quickly. It makes me wonder what his real purpose is in coming to town. 

Homework #24

It is human nature to want what you aren't allowed to have. The more you are told you can't do something; the more you want to do it. This is the point that Dickens is attempting to make. Do you agree with him? 
Why does Dickens refer to Tom as a "whelp" in this passage? 
James is befriending Tom, to be sure. But he uses a very facetious tone with him that Tom, most likely, does not get.  
What in this chapter BEST conveys the theme that industrial English society prevents individual liberty? 
Why does the author suggest that Tom should drown himself? Use evidence from this chapter to explain your response.  

Homework #25

This rally is meant to form a union--a collective bargaining unit of laborers who have the ability to make demands with their employers for better wages, working conditions, and hours. A union is a relatively new concept that was brought about by industrialism. The video below will show you how unions formed in America.  (This annotation contains a video)
What effect does Stephen's style of speech have upon the reader? 
Stephen does not want to unionize. He believes it will increase the tension in an already tense relationship with employees and their employer. He "crossed the line" as we might say, and chooses not to unite himself with them. Although he feels close to them, they turn him away, and he asks to still be allowed to work.  
An important part of the structure of this novel has to do with the parallel and interweaving plots. Stephen, though not at all associated with Louisa, has similar conflicts. Take a moment and watch the following video about parallel plots. Consider other characters whose lives might be intertwined in this novel.  (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #26

What does the "wind" and "gusty weather" metaphor represent in this chapter? 
Stephen most likely looks at Louisa because she is the only one in the room who has an ounce of compassion. This scene is where we begin to see plots intertwine--both Louisa and Stephen have a deeper sense of humanity than Mr. Bounderby yet both are subject to his almost tyrannical treatment.  
What theme is BEST expressed through Stephen's complaint against Mr. Bounderby? 
Who is MOST powerless in this chapter? Louisa or Stephen? Use evidence from the text to construct your opinion. 

Homework #27

The old woman most likely represents a generation that is fascinated by industrial times but never really had to endure how hard they are on people. Furthermore, this woman is from outside of town--not directly affected by Coketown. Her comments seem offensive to Stephen who thinks quite differently of the horrible life he has to live in this oppressive town. Nevertheless, Stephen, as the epitome of kindness, at least tolerates her. 
What character trait makes Stephen such a noble person? 
One gets the feeling that Mrs. Pegler's son is not dead. The ambiguity that she creates in the reader's mind from her actions in previous chapters and this one creates an element of suspense and possibly even foreshadows something we would want to know. Watch the video below to learn more about the technique of foreshadowing. (This annotation contains a video)
What do the Hands have that Louisa does NOT? 
Stephen is ostracized by his community. This means that they reject him. Along with their rejection comes a bad reputation. With a bad reputation it is nearly impossible for him to be hired anywhere else.  
How does Louisa MOST change as a result of her encounter with Stephen? 
Dickens points out a poignant difference between the rich and poor--their simplicity is what makes the world a good place. If it were just wealthy, greedy people, the world would be a horribly selfish place.  
What do Tom's actions MOST likely foreshadow? Use evidence from the text to support your response.  

Homework #28

Take a moment and think about the title of this chapter. Recall the use of foreshadowing, and make a guess as to what it means. 
What seems to be Mr. Harthouse's true intentions for his trip to Coketown? 
While Mr. Bounderby befriends Mr. Harthouse all the more, Mr. Harthouse begins to have more moments alone with Louisa. He is gaining confidence with Mr. Bounderby so he can have access to Louisa. What other character tries to manipulate circumstances as much as he does?  
How does Mr. Harthouse attempt to curry favor with Louisa? 
Although not a reoccurring symbol through this novel, the roses in this chapter should seem a little out of place. The setting has painted a dark picture of a town covered in soot and smog. The roses are beautiful, but they are treated with such carelessness by Tom. What connections can you draw between what he does with the roses and what he does with people in his life? 

Homework #29

This metaphor is meant to elaborate on how dangerous Mr. Harthouse really is. He has no overarching purpose in life. He simply goes from one adventure to the next. Do you think this is an appropriate metaphor to describe him? 
Watch the following song from Doris Day, titled "Que Sera Sera." Answer the question that follows.  (This annotation contains a video)
In what way does Mr. Harthouse's view of "What will be, will be" MOST differ from that of Doris Day's? Use evidence from the text to support your response.  
What are Mr. Bounderby's accusations about "Hands being it" intended to reveal? 
If you recall, Tom was the one who told Stephen to wait outside the bank each night. Now that witnesses have seen him there, he becomes the prime suspect. You might have your own idea about who stole the money, though, and I'm guessing it's not Stephen. 
How does this detail about the setting MOST influence the way the reader understands the story?  
Dickens provides a good laugh when he claims that Mrs. Sparsit has a hard time not calling Louisa by her maiden name. She has already made it well-known that she never approved of the marriage to begin with. Authors will often state obviously silly things matter-of-factly to create sarcasm or humor, like Dickens does here. It is up to you to know when an author uses this technique. 
Which of the following inferences BEST explains why Mrs. Sparsit is treating Mr. Bounderby so differently? 
What (or who) is to blame for Louisa and Tom's worsening relationship? Identify at least two reasons why they are not as close as they used to be.   

Homework #30

What physical characteristics do you imagine when you think of a snobby person? Dickens makes constant reference to Mrs. Sparsit's eyebrows and nose--both often pointed in the air with a sense of superiority. Although the words he uses are not directly sarcastic, we can infer that he is painting a satirical portrayal of this aristocratic woman.  
Which of the following is NOT a strategy that Mrs. Sparsit uses to gain Mr. Bounderby's favor? 
This moment seems to be near the height of Mr. Bounderby's villainy. Take a moment to think about all he's done. He's influenced an entire city to think of Facts. He's done nothing to help the working class. He's made a young girl his captive wife. He's falsely accused an innocent man. It seems like Louisa is getting quite fed up, and more bold, with her husband. His comment here, shows the extent of his arrogance.  
What is Mrs. Sparsit referring to when she berates Mr. Bounderby here? 
Most people have fond memories of the home where they grew up. Not Louisa. Her memories of her home only reinforce the sad reality that she had her childhood robbed from her by her father.  
What is the "something" that Mrs. Gradgrind wishes to tell her husband before she passes away? Use evidence from the text to support your response.  

Homework #31

Mrs. Sparsit has no real love or concern for Mr. Bounderby. This is why she behaves so duplicitously. He is merely a means to keep herself comfortable and aristocratic. She needs him to keep her social status intact.  
What does Mrs. Sparsit's allegorical staircase MOST likely represent? 
Why does Mr. Bounderby so blindly trust Tom? 
There is a saying that indifference is worse than hatred. If this is true, then Mrs. Sparsit is quite the villainous character. She wants Louisa to have an affair because it would ruin her reputation and her life. Her husband would have grounds for divorcing her, and in the Victorian society, she would become a social pariah for committing this immoral act. The same way Mr. Bounderby was determined to make an outcast of Stephen, so to does Mrs. Sparsit want to make an outcast of Louisa. Think for a moment about what drives these villains to want to do this. 

Homework #32

In what way does Mr. Gradgrind show "indifference"?  
Mrs. Sparsit wants Louisa and Mr. Harthouse to be alone so that they will commit adultery. This is the bottom of the staircase that she imagines for Louisa. She is being sneaky and conniving, and attempts to keep Tom away from his sister so she will more likely fall into Mr. Harthouse's arms.  
The word choice used in this highlighted passage is meant to show that Mrs. Sparsit is  
Both Mrs. Sparsit and Mr. Harthouse's villainous plots intertwine here--they both want to trap Louisa into infidelity. Although their motives are different--one out of conquest and the other out of jealousy--Louisa is trapped. Dickens refers to this event as an "ambuscade," or as we might call it, an ambush. This scene represents the climax in the action of the plot--it all comes down to how strong Louisa's character is. What do you think she will do? 

Homework #33

Storms are often used to foreshadow the height of a conflict, or climax, in a story. As Mr. Gradgrind listens to the storm, we can sense that he is going to have to come to terms with something he's been avoiding for a long time--his daughter and how he treated her.  
Part II Quiz 

Homework #35

Before you begin this chapter, take a quick moment to think about the title of this third section: Garnerning. The word comes from the act of sending the poor into the harvest floor to gather whatever remained that the farmers left behind. It's a humbling state to be in. The characters in this play have made decisions (sowing); felt the consequences of those choices (reaping), and now have to pick up the pieces that remain of their lives (garnering).  
Mr. Gradgrind's attitude towards Louisa can BEST be described as 
Louisa's ability to quickly forgive her father demonstrates her loyalty and loving heart. Many people would have the right to be upset at a parent for taking away their childhood desire to dream, but Louisa shows us the depths of her character--she is a genuinely compassionate person. 
What is the main idea that Mr. Gradgrind learns from his daughter, Louisa? 
Archetypes are characters with similar traits who appear in literature in many different contexts. Watch the following video on archetypes. What archetype would Sissy represent? (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Louisa believe she is so "wicked"? Explain why she has this view of herself by using evidence from throughout the story.  

Homework #36

What inference can you make as to why Mr. Harthouse seems so agitated? 
In order to appear to be composed and dignified, Mr. Harthouse refuses to show that he is bothered. Although the author reveals his struggle and weakness, we see the proud side of this character who won't admit his own insecurities. Have you ever been "too cool for school" as a front to mask doubt and fear? 
What two character traits does the author contrast in this highlighted passage about Mr. Harthouse and Sissy? 
Notice how profoundly and effectively Sissy is at dealing with others. She gets Jane to become a well-rounded girl. She softens Louisa and her father. She sends Mr. Harthouse packing. She is NOT the central character in this text--Louisa is. Yet she is the hero on all accounts. Her story proves one of the author's main points--one does not need to be "successful" in the eyes of others to be a successful human being.  
Sissy's response to Mr. Harthouse shows that she is 
What is the underlying reason that Mr. Harthouse develops a deep sense of shame?  

Homework #37

What significant change does the highlighted passage MOST reveal about Mr. Gradgrind? 
The way Mr. Bounderby treats Mrs. Sparsit shows the satirical approach that Dickens takes towards their relationship. Mrs. Sparsit is pampered beyond belief, and Mr. Bounderby believes it is his duty to do so. The fact that he treats only "aristocrats" so well reveals how shallow he really is. 
The mood of this scene can BEST be described as  
Mr. Bounderby does not get what Mr. Gradgrind is telling him. Louisa needs time alone to develop her emotional health. If Mr. Bounderby truly loved his wife, Louisa, how should he respond to her sudden "incompatibility"?  
What pieces of his life does Mr. Gradgrind garner in this chapter? 

Homework #38

Like Mr. Harthouse, Mr. Bounderby works very hard to save face. He is more concerned with what people think of him than he is with his own character. Dickens clearly draws a distinction on this point between complex characters who have virtue and villainous characters who have only vice.  
Based on the events in this chapter, Stephen Blackpool MOST resembles what archetype in literature? 
Why is Rachel so upset at Louisa? 
Mr. Bounderby is desperate to find who took his money. It is the only thing left that will justify him in his own mind. He has even resorted to blaming Rachel who he says is a suspect by association with Stephen. 
This highlighted questions BEST develops which theme in this novel? 
Which of the following is NOT an effect that Stephen's absence has on the plot and characters? 

Homework #39

The bond between Rachel and Sissy is held together by their common outlook on life--they trust people too much. If you stop and think for a moment, though, about the element of trust with both of these characters, the author provides a subtle contrast about how each of them trust. Sissy placed her trust in a father that never returned; Rachael places her trust in Stephen who seems more trustworthy. Trusting in others is not bad--trusting in bad people is not good.  
Why would Stephen be murdered? Use clues from the text to make an inference.  
What mood does the author create through the unfolding events in this chapter? 
Mr. Bounderby is a fraud! He was supposed to have been abandoned by his mother, but it appears he paid her off to live in the country and not tell anyone that he did not make himself the man he wants to be known as. How does this startling fact tie into the theme of false identities?  
What archetype does Mr. Bounderby clearly represent because of the truths that have been revealed in this chapter? 
Tom sticks close to Bounderby because he is so paranoid that the truth about who robbed the bank will be discovered. Instead of developing into a better person like many other people in his family, he becomes a shell of himself and fixates on hiding his guilt. The saying, "The truth will set you free!" becomes an appropriate saying to use with Tom.  

Homework #40

How does the author MOST affect a change in the mood of this story at the opening of this chapter?  
Notice that it takes an extreme act of love for Sissy to trust Rachel. She didn't trust Rachel before because she wasn't sure of her sincerity. Now that she knows her sincerity she can trust her. Rachel is safe.  
What is the significance of Stephen being lifted out of the Old Hell Shaft by the people of his community? (Hint: Think about how he was treated by them earlier in the story). 
Stephen's passionate speech sums up the his feelings (and most likely the author's, too) about the true effects of the industrial society. While factories produce more and more goods, they make happy lives for its workers more and more impossible. Is the production of goods worth the destruction of good men's lives? This is Stephen's poignant question.  
What archetype does the star that Stephen sees BEST represent? 

Homework #41

Sissy knows that Tom is in danger of being found out. She whispers to him to flee. He does.  
What effect does the discovery of Tom's guilt have upon Mr. Gradgrind? 
Think for a moment about what Sissy represents. She is like a guardian angel to all the Gradgrind family. Her presence in their house creates a domino effect of simplicity, beauty, and truth. Although the main conflicts in this story surround the Gradgrinds, her story seems to weave good into all the entire tapestry of the family.  
Heroes and heroines often return home at the end of a story to wrap up unresolved issues or seek closure. Louisa returned home and helped everyone realize how much they needed to change. Sissy, however, comes home to realize that the life she left was just as good as it was many years ago. Think about the statement that Dickens makes about the poor and outcasts of society--maybe they are the ones who have it all figured out.  
Why is Tom's status an example of irony? Explain using evidence from the story to support your response.  

Homework #42

The irony of this situation is that Bitzer is a product of Gradgrind's school and philosophy. It has come back to haunt him. In sticking with the theme of this book, it is important to plant good seeds so as to avoid bad plants later on. Bitzer is a bad plant.  
Which of the following concepts is MOST similar to the theme that Bitzer is referring to? 
Mr. Sleary is repaying Mr. Gradgrind for taking such good care of Sissy. He is going to double-cross Bitzer and help free Tom.  
In what way does Sissy's return to her home and people emphasize the point Dickens makes about the virtue of the poor and humble in spirit? 

Homework #43

In sticking with the same philosophy about life that Bitzer espoused, Mr. Bounderby gets rid of possibly his only friend (if she can really be called that) because of self-interest. The modus operandi of doing whatever one can to get ahead in life is the tragic flaw in many characters in this novel.  
Ironically, the portrait of Mr. Bounderby will outlive the real Mr. Bounderby. All he cared about was "futurity" or making himself known. His legacy dies and dwindles because he didn't invest in anyone in a meaningful way--only himself. His story is tragic. 
Part III Quiz