Hard Times: Book 3 Chapter 2 - Summary & Analysis

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Very Ridiculous


      On the other hand, Harthouse has been waiting for Louisa to come and join him. Louisa had not deserted him; to her solicitations, she had only said: “Not here”. When Mrs. Sparsit had overheard that, she took it as Louisa would not agree to surrender in front of her lover at that particular spot. Harthouse had also thought that Louisa was only trying to keep him off for the time being and very soon she would yield to her love. However, Harthouse finds no traces of Louisa either at Bounderby’s house or at Coketown. He is unable to think that she would go to Gradgrind’s house. He thinks that there may have occurred something that has detained Louisa. He decides to wait for her or any message from her side. He stays in a hotel where he usually resides. He is not sure whether he would get any contemptuous message or a promise of secret meeting, or regretting words. He tries to reconcile himself with his motto: “What will be, will be.” Now a waiter enters and says to Harthouse that a young lady has come to see him. Harthouse finds a stronger, young woman, plainly dressed, pretty and quiet. She says that she wants to have a brief talk with him and that her visit should be kept as something confidential. She says to Harthouse that Mrs. Bounderby has reached at ‘Stone Lodge’ previous night. It should be very clear to him that Mrs. Bounderby will never see him again in her whole life. She also says that it was not Louisa who had told her to meet him and intimate correct position to him. She herself is responsible for taking this initiative and telling him everything, what is the correct condition because she knows Louisa’s character and circumstances under which she has married Bounderby. The young lady tells Harthouse to leave Coketown that very night and never come back. She says that Harthouse should consent with this request if he is feeling sorry for what he has done with Louisa. Now everything is clear to Harthouse. He is neither shocked nor embarrassed. He says that though he is not a man of morals, but he did not want to ruin Louisa. Whatever has happened was the consequence of unobtrusive growing intimacy between him and Louisa. Then, he agrees to comply with the young lady’s wishes.

      The young lady was about to leave when Harthouse asks her who she is, or how is she related with Louisa’s family. The lady says, her name is Sissy Jupe. She was a poor girl whom her father had left, he was a stroller. Gradgrind has taken him under his protection. This identity of the lady makes Harthouse feel that he is completely defeated. After her departure, Harthouse picks up a pen and writes three letters, one to his brother, and another to Gradgrind and Bounderby informing them that he is leaving Coketown for good.

Critical Analysis

      The character of Sissy Jupe is more enlightened in this chapter. She shows her spirit of enterprise and courage though Louisa does not say her anything in order to meet Harthouse yet Sissy takes the initiative. She does what she thinks best in the case of Louisa and Harthouse and we admire her for this action.

      Harthouse’s character is also presented in a different light that he is not utterly scoundrel follow. Still few marks of gentlemanliness are left in him. He is not wicked to the extent of blackmailing Louisa. His agreement on Sissy’s suggestion of immediately leaving Coketown is the mark of decency in him. Without making any fuss, or being furious he accepts his true position.

      Most ironic (Irony of situation) statement of the chapter is: “The defeat may now be considered perfectly accomplished”. Harthouse tells that only a poor girl of a clown is needed to complete the defeat.

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