Hard Times-Charles Dickens
In “Hard Times” there is a teacher called Mr Gradgrind, Mr Gradgrind set up a school
As a charity. Although this makes him sound like a kind man he is quite the opposite. He is very harsh and cruel man. I know this because of how he treats one of the members of his school. Her name is Sissy Jupe. One day Mr Gradgrind said “girl number 20, who is that girl. Sissy stood up and said “me sir”. Mr Gradgrind asked her name, when she replied he said “sissy is not a name and your father should not call you it!” then Mr Gradgrind asked her fathers job and Sissy told him that he looked after the horses in the circus. Mr Gradgrind said, “right then, define a horse!”
Sissy could not do this. Then he asked one of the boys to do this and straight away all of the boys put their hands up in the air. Mr Gradgrind chose one called Bitzer, he defines a horse very well with great detail. Bitzer only knew this because he had committed it to memory by chanting it, he didn’t know what it all meant.
I think this was unfair because Mr Gradgrind was favouring the boys over the girls and he was being practically unfair to Sissy. Mr Gradgrind has no feeling of love for anyone, he doesn’t even know the meaning of love of feeling because it is not a “fact”.
After this Mr Gradgrind was on his way home walking through the streets and he came across the circus, of course he did not believe in the circus because it was entertainment. He looked around and saw his son Tom and his daughter Louisa watching the circus performers. Straight away he went over to them and told them to get home immediately. Mr Gradgrind walked them home and in to the living room. In the room already were Mr Bounderby and Mrs Gradgrind. Mr Bounderby is a man who has a lot of self-confidence and is always boasting about how he used to be poor and live in the gutters and now he is rich and lives in a rich house. Mrs Gradgrind was ill and just like Mr Gradgrind. She stayed at home all day and lay down. Mr Gradgrind told Mr Bounderby and Mrs Gradgrind what tom and Louisa have been doing. They were both ashamed of them and asked them why they were there, they replied that they liked the entertainment. Mr Gradgrind told them to go to the study. Tom went to the study and as Louisa was walking down the stairs Mr Bounderby approached her. He said that he will sort it out with Mr Gradgrind for her, then he said “I think that disserves a kiss don’t you?” Mr Bounderby kisses her on the cheek.
Louisa goes to the study with Tom like her father told her to. Louisa tells Tom what happened on the stairs with Mr Bounderby, she says “you could cut out my cheek and I wouldn’t cry.”
A man called Stephen Blackpool who worked in one of the factories went to see the owner, the owner was Mr Bounderby. As soon as he walked in Mr Bounderby automatically assumed that he wanted more money, but Stephen wanted to ask him something. He wanted to ask him how to get a divorce. He explained about his situation with is wife and he said that she was a drunk, she takes all of his positions to sell and buy gin. Mr Bounderby did not care he just said that he should not have married her in the first place. When Stephen Blackpool was leaving Mr Bounderby said to Mrs Sparsit “all these people want turtle soup and venison with a gold spoon.” I don’t think that Mr Bounderby cares about anyone else apart from him self.
A man called Stephen Blackpool went in to see Mr Bounderby. He wanted to ask him something, he wanted to ask him if he could have some advice about his wife. His wife was an alcoholic who took all of his things to sell so she could buy gin.
Stephen Blackpool wanted to divorce her so he asked Mr Bounderby how he could go about doing it. When he asked this Mr Bounderby was shocked and he said it would cost a lot more money than he has got. He really meant that I can afford it but you are so poor you wouldn’t be able to afford it in twenty years.
Stephen said it was a muddle. Mr Bounderby told him to leave.
Mr Gradgrind went in to Louisa’s room to ask her something, he led her in to another room. He said that she is getting near the age of marriage, he then said that people of her age are already having children. He then came out with it and said that Mr Bounderby has asked for her hand in marriage. Louisa hesitated a little then answered yes. I think that the only reason that she said yes is because she feels a lot of pressure from her father. When Tom found out about this he was very pleased for her, I think that the only reason he was pleased about it was because he thinks he can get money from Mr Bounderby through Louisa.
At the wedding in one corner stood Sissy Jupe and Mrs Gradgrind. They were talking about what Mrs Gradgrind would call Mr Bounderby now he is married to Louisa. If I was in her position I would not be worried about that I would be worried about Mr Bounderby taking advantage of my daughter. I also think that Mrs Gradgrind should be worrying about the age gap, Mr Bounderby is muck older than Louisa.
In the middle of the room Mr Bounderby and Mrs Sparsit were standing and talking to each other, Mrs Sparsit was being very clever and twisting her words making them have a split meaning. Like she kept on calling Louisa young Miss Gradgrind instead of Mrs Bounderby.
Mrs sparsit was sitting in the bank when Bitzer came in. Bitzer was complaining about Tom Gradgrind. He said that all he does is sport and gamble and when he runs out of money he just goes running to Louisa.
I think that he is jealous of the attention that Tom is getting from Mr Bounderby.
Louisa and Mr Bounderby were sitting at the table eating when a man called James Harthouse came in. He came to visit Mr bounderby, as soon as he saw Louisa he started to flirt with her. They were doing this right in front of Mr Bounderbys eyes. He was to busy eating to realise what was going on.
James and Louisa were out side talking and Mrs Sparsit thought it was a bit suspicious, not knowing she was there they started kissing passionately.
Mrs Sparsit went to see Mr Bounderby and told him.
Louisa and Mr Gradgrind were talking and Louisa was very angry with him because he hadn’t thought her the meaning of love.
This changed him and made him realise that there is another side of life, this was love.
Bitzer came running into the house saying that they have been robbed! All of the money has been taken out of the safe. Immediately for some reason they all assume that it was Stephen Blackpool. Mr Bounderby told the police and they sent out a search for him.
Mr Gradgrind went over to Tom and said “it was you, it was you that took the money wasn’t it.”
Now Mr Gradgrind knows that it was Tom he took him to the circus to hide him. Mr Sleary dressed Tom up in a clown costume. He did this to give him a disguise in case of anyone finding out that it was him.
Bitzer came in to the tent and said “come with me Tom, I know that you did it all along.”
Bitzer led Tom out of the tent walking him towards Coketown.
I have learned al lot from this book, things like the meaning of love. I found it a challenging book because a lot of the words were meant to have two meanings. I have seen the two ways of life, rich and poor. I have also seen the different ways that people understand things.
Hard Times-Charles Dickens