Hard Times - Book One: Chapters 1 – 4 Summary & Analysis

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Summary

At the opening of the novel, Thomas Gradgrind, a middle-class man of some influence in London, has just hired a new teacher, Mr. M’Choakumchild to implement his strict lessons of fact in the school. Gradgrind views all of his students as “little pitchers” to be filled with fact alone. He quizzes two pupils, Bitzer – believed to be Gradgrind’s best student – and Sissy Jupe – believed to be Gradgrind’s worst student – on horse anatomy. Despite being raised in the circus, and therefore around horses, Sissy is unable to answer the questions in a satisfactory way. Gradgrind believes this is because Sissy has been spent too long with the “savages” of the circus, and has learned to value fantasy over fact. Bitzer, on the other hand, is able to recite complex anatomy word-for-word, which greatly pleases Gradgrind.

On his way home from school, Gradgrind...

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This section contains 619 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Hard Times Study Guide
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