Write a notes on Dickensian satire with reference to Mr. Bounderby and Mrs. Sparsit in the novel Hard Times.

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dickens satire comes in the form of Josiah Bounderby's lies about himself and his upbringing. In an industrialized society where social and economical changes are taking place, the former idea of pedigree, blue blood ties, or aristocratic upbringing became archaic. Hence, the new-born idea of the "self-made man" coming from rags to riches was the new cliche that all successful people wanted to follow.

Yet, Josiah was nothing of the kind: He was indeed a rags to riches story but he wanted to add drama to his story by saying he was abandoned and went through too many hard times to make it.

He was, in fact, raised up well and not as miserably as he claimed. Yet, his issue now was that his servant (the keeper of his household) Mrs. Sparsit was a former aristocrat who fell on hard times and lost her title, possessions, and power.

What Dickens is satirizing is the former aristocratic society which was based on name and rank rather than effort and fortune. Now, in a newly- industrialized and capitalist society, here we have the biggest irony of all: A ridiculous man made himself some money and hired a former aristocrat to wash his dirty laundry.