Hard Times: Book 1 Chapter 7 - Summary & Analysis

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Mr. Sparsit


      Bounderby is a bachelor and he has a housekeeper to look after his household works. Her name is Mrs. Sparsit, an elderly woman who has good social links. She has a great-aunt named Lady Scadgers. Mr. Bounderby is habitual to glorify Mrs. Sparsit’s social background, as he has the habit of degrading his own family background.

      After spending whole night at the house of Bounderby, in the morning Sissy waits to know where she has to go school or Stone Lodge. Bounderby is waiting for Gradgrind to come and inform him of his decision after giving second thought to his proposal of taking Sissy under his supervision. He reveals to Mrs. Sparsit his intention of employing Tom (Gradgrind’s son) as an office hand after finishing his schooling.

      Gradgrind comes with his daughter Louisa. Sissy shows her immense respect to both of them but is found deficient in expressing enough respect to Mrs. Sparsit. Bounderby scolds Sissy and tells her never to neglect Mrs. Sparsit and show enough respect to her to which she is entitled.

      Gradgrind decides to take Sissy to his home. She will go to school and when not at school, she will look after Mrs. Gradgrind because she is an invalid. When Gradgrind comes to know that Sissy was used to read fairy stories to her father, he strictly warns her never to talk about fairies and breathe such destructive nonsense. Finally all the three-Gradgrind Louisa and Sissy return to ‘Stone Lodge’.

Critical Analysis

      In spite of Bounderby’s disagreement, Gradgrind sticks to his decision of giving shelter to Sissy in his house and educating her at his school. Sissy is taken by Grad grind to ‘Stone Lodge’ but it is noticeable that Louisa appears very cold towards Sissy.

      Another new character is introduced in this chapter. It is Mrs. Sparsit. She is also satirized like Bounderby and Gradgrind. She is a widow Once she was living happily she was wealthy and had all the amenities to live a healthy life but misfortune has made her to look for job in order to earn for her livelihood. Bounderby feels proud of it that his housekeeper is from aristocratic background. Bounderby behaves too politely with her and frequently gives compliments for her excellent background.

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