Hard Times: Book 3 Chapter 9 - Summary & Analysis

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      Bounderby is much resentful against Mrs. Sparsit for having dragged his mother forcibly to him from darkness to the limelight and degrade him. He dismisses her from her post. But Mrs. Sparsit does not feel sorry Before leaving the scene she tells him in contemptuous manner that she has always been hostile to him and standing before his portrait she was used to calling him a noodle.

      After five years Josiah Bounderby dies out of a fit in the street. According to his will, his estate is passed into the hands of about twenty-five persons, all above the age of fifty-five and each a balderdash in his own right.

      Gradgrind has now become wiser, a man of knowledge after realizing the serious shortcomings of the theories which he had been following in an eccentric manner before misfortune had fallen upon him. Now he has acknowledged that facts and figures are not very important, there are faith, hope and charity above the facts. He acquits late Stephen Blackpool from the charges of robbery and announces the guilt of his son, though being a father he tries to make his son’s escape from the hands of law.

      After recovering from her long illness Rachael resumes her job at the factory: a woman of reflective beauty always putting on black dress. But she remains honey-tempered, calm and cheerful. She feels great sympathy and passion for Stephen’s drunken wife.

      Tom is living away from his native place, as an exile. He is quite remorseful for his misdeed. He realizes his unscrupulousness and ingratitude to Louisa’s affection ceaselessly showering upon him. He is living with the hope that soon he would meet his sister. But he dies of a fever with murmuring Louisa’s name. Sissy gets married and leading a happy married life with children who love her a lot. Sissy’s company is great source of delight and comfort to Louisa.

Critical Analysis

      The last chapter is noteworthy for the exchange of sarcastic statements between Bounderby and Mrs. Sparsit. After being dismissed, Mrs. Sparsit finds no reason to hide her true feelings for Bounderby She tells him that she hates him and calls him a noodle while standing in front of his portrait. Then victoriously she departs. But Bounderby is so thick skinned that it does not affect him. He has not felt shame for being false in regard of his past life. Such kind of humiliation does not embarrass him.

      Another remarkable feature of the novel is its moral tone. Except for Bounderby, all the characters are either unhappy or happy and sensible for what they did in their life.

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