How does Charles Dickens make the character of Sissy Jupe a significant one in Hard Times?

Expert Answers info

Blaze Bergstrom eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write4,297 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Sissy, the nickname of Cecilia, Jupe is a child during much of the action in Hard Times. In many ways, Sissy embodies the novel’s title—the difficulties that England’s poor must endure. Charles Dickens to some extent keeps Sissy as the stereotype of the cheerful, persevering youngster who triumphs over adversity. The author also endows her with enough specific characteristics to make her a unique, memorable character.

In a world where family name and connections largely determine one’s status, Sissy is at a distinct disadvantage; her mother is dead, and her sole remaining parent seemingly abandons her. She is an unofficial foster child of the Gradgrinds, rather than their adopted daughter. The way that both Gradgrind and Bounderby treat her is emblematic of their hypocrisy. Although Gradgrind initially welcomes her into his home and school, when she finds the methods challenging, he removes her from school rather than educate her further. The class distinctions are further...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 719 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,164 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial