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Although Bitzer isn't one of the main characters in Charles Dickens' Hard Times, there is certainly enough information available in the novel to warrant a nice character sketch. Very simply Bitzer is a student at Gradgrind's school (along with Tom, Louisa, and Sissy) who often degrades other classmates by spouting his factual definitions and grows to be quite a miscreant. He later becomes employed by Bounderby's bank as a clerk in order to spy on the employees there (and to keep watch at night for thieves and burglars). Bitzer is selfish at heart in that he sees the accumulation of his own interests as the only way to succeed. He is most appreciative of the lessons he learns about being blatantly practical. His selfish nature is perhaps best exhibited when he unsuccessfully apprehends Tom as a thief and then attempts to bring Tom back to Coketown so that he, Bitzer himself, will be promoted to Tom's position at the bank. Luckily, Bitzer is diverted by Sleary and Tom does escape. Always cynical, Bitzer famously comments that he does have a heart, but only because "circulation could not be carried on without one."
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