Hard Times: Book 3 Chapter 3 - Summary & Analysis

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Very Decided


      When Mrs. Sparsit fails to find Louisa at the railway station she directly goes to London where Bounderby and his wife had eloped with Harthouse. Bounderby rushes to Coketown immediately. With Mrs. Sparsit, he gets into Gradgrind’s house and says him that there has happened something that will be struck Gradgrind dumb. Still, Bounderby does not know that Louisa has not fled away but lying sick in his father’s house.

      When Gradgrind reveals the truth to Bounderby, Mrs. Sparsit finds herself guilty. She has never thought that Louisa would go to her father, Gradgrind’s house. She finds no way to take refuge; and bursts into tears. Bounderby orders her to go to bank's apartment immediately.

      Gradgrind says Bounderby that Louisa has not been happy with him. After listening to all the facts from Louisa, he can not vindicate himself. He finds himself responsible for her plight. Gradgrind then suggests that Louisa should stay at his place for a few days unless she recovers her mental balance, thereafter she would go back to her husband’s place. Bounderby finds it insulting, he tells Gradgrind that if Louisa does not come to him by noon next day, she should stay forever where she is. After that Bounderby goes off.

      Next day Bounderby waits for Louisa to return. When the clock announces twelve o’clock and Bounderby finds no sign of Louisa, he orders his servant to pack up all the clothes of Louisa and send that to Gradgrind’s home. Next, he decides to advertise his country home for sale and starts living the life of a bachelor.

Critical Analysis

      The chapter is remarkable for dealing with the failure of Mrs. Sparsit. She is dashed to the ground and again despatched to her bank apartment.

      Gradgrind has realized that he is responsible for making his daughter’s life miserable, and he tries to justify her conduct in front of Bounderby.

      The noticeable development of the plot is Bounderby’s decision to be separated from Louisa and lead “a bachelor’s life.”

      The embarrassment of Mrs. Sparsit on finding Louisa at her father’s house greatly amuses us. Bounderby’s “windy anger” and boastful style of speaking also makes us smile. He uses his favorite cliche when he speaks about workers that they are very unreasonable as to ask for “turtle soup and venison with a gold spoon, and a coach and six.” He becomes funnier when he says that Louisa too demands for these things but she will never get that out of him.

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