Hard Times: Book 2 Chapter 7 - Summary & Analysis

Also Read



      James Harthouse was by now thoroughly accustomed to Coketown and circle of the “Hard Fact Fellows” with whom he is keeping company with. Everybody who knows him, thinks him to be a man of promise.

      He is also trying to develop intimacy with Louisa. He becomes successful in convincing Louisa that his attitude of ‘honesty in dishonesty’ is most practical. Of course, his philosophy seems to be a relief to Louisa who had all her life remained subdued and repressed. Though Harthouse has no particular ill plot in his mind, yet he is conscious to win Louisa’s confidence. For this purpose he frequently visits Bounderby’s house, he is even encouraged by Bounderby himself to come to his residence. Bounderby and Louisa are living now a days fifteen miles away from Coketown and here Harthouse gets frequent opportunities to meet Louisa whenever she is left alone.

      One day Harthouse seeks Louisa’s permission to speak to her about something personal. The subject is her brother Tom. He points out many favors that she has done to Tom because of the affection to him. He tries to make her think that Tom is ungrateful to her She admits that she has been giving money to him for gambling, and that she has even sold a few of her trinkets in order to give him the required amount of money though can not fulfill his demand.

      After this talk Harthouse has a private conversation with Tom who comes to visit Louisa’s house right that moment. Harthouse offers to help Tom out of his economic problems on seeing him under miserable conditions. But Tom says money is no solution. If he had received the needed money at the proper time, he would not have been in his present wretched condition. Harthouse, then says to be grateful to his sister for all her favors. That evening Louisa finds Tom much affectionate to her and she knows that it is Harthouse working behind the mind of Tom. First time, Louisa gives smile to Harthouse that she has never given to anyone except Tom. Harthouse inwardly thinks that his arrow has struck its target.

Critical Analysis

      James Harthouse is clearly revealed as a base and shrewd fellow in this chapter. He is using all the possible strategies to win the confidence of Louisa.

      Harthouse’s strategies psychologically affect the mind of Louisa. Dickens observes it in the following lines “Upon a nature long accustomed to self-suppression, thus torn and divided, the Harthouse philosophy came as a relief and justification.”

      Harthouse is prevailing upon the mind of Tom also. Tom’s habit of gambling and debts are no secrets to Harthouse. On the whole, the chapter is quite interesting as it creates curiosity in the reader what will happen, and what shape would Louisa and Bounderby’s relation take.

Previous Post Next Post