Hard Times: Book 1 Chapter 6 - Summary & Analysis

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Sleary’s Horsemanship


      The name of the public house is Peagsus’s Arms. The two gentlemen along with Sissy reach the room but Sissy’s father Signor Jupe is not there. Sissy goes to search for her father who is expected to meet at the booth. After few minutes a young man gets into the room with a small fellow. He is Mr. E.W.B. Childers, the member of the circus troupe. He is famous for his wild huntsmanship. His companion is a tiny boy with old face. He is the assistant of Mr. Childers and looks quite saucy and impudent. Mr. Childers says to the Gradgrind and Mr. Bounderby that Signor Jupe’s performance is not satisfactory and in a mood of much frustration and distress he has left his daughter and circus. Gradgrind proposes that he will take Sissy under his supervision and educate her only if she would not continue her relationship with the members of the circus and never make any attempt to communicate them. Everybody agrees to him. Bounderby was against Gradgrind. He suggests to think over the proposal before putting it into effect. Meantime, Sissy can stay with him at his home. All the members of circus troupe express their best wishes to Sissy and then she goes to Bounderby’s house.

Critical Analysis

      This chapter is remarkable for the noticeable development in the plot. Signor’s Jupe leaves Sissy forever and it shocks everybody Gradgrind feels sympathy for Sissy and he offers his protection to her. Sissy is not ready to believe that her father has left her. This is the role of chance that Gradgrind had come to Sissy’s father to inform him that they are dismissing her from the school but he does what he had not slightly thought.

      A good deal of light is focused on the nature of circus people especially on Mr. Sleary who is its owner and other two circus performers Childers and a little boy Master Kidderminster. They produce a lot of humor through their rudeness towards Bounderby who behaves very indecently to Sissy For example, when Bounderby says that Signor Jupe is a stranded rogue and a vagabond in exact English language, Childers’ answer is: “It’s all the same to me who is or what he is not, whether in English or in French.”

      Now humor is followed by pathos. Sissy is quite distressed at her father’s desertion. Another moving scene is of Sissy’s taking leave to other members of the circus troupe and going with Gradgrind.

      The circus performers are depicted in a very good light. Dickens says, there is “a remarkable gentleness and childishness about these people, and an untiring readiness to help and pity one another ” Mr. Sleary’s philosophy is quite good and convincing but presented in a very amusing manner because of Bounderby’s habit of lisping. He says: “Make the betht of uth, not the wurtht” (Make the best of us, not the worst).

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