What are the major points in chapter six of Hard Times?

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Chapter Six introduces us to more of the people who form the circus and have been influential in raising up Sissy Jupe and making her the person that she is. Sissy, Bounderby and Gradgrind call in at an in called the Pegasus Arms, and Bounderby and Gradgrind meet Mr. Sleary, who is the circus master and is marked by his lisp. Mr. Sleary tells Mr. Gradgrind that Sissy's father is unable to perform in the circus anymore and, out of shame, has abandoned her, not being able to face her again. Gradgrind is eager to take Sissy into his home and educate her according to his system of facts. Sissy agrees to this but only because she still lives in hope that her father one day might return. This is a hope that Bounderby and Gradgrind clearly find ludicrous and part of her "romantic fancy." Sissy is bade farewell by a range of circus folk and she is very sad to leave them because they have been her family as she grew up.

What is important to realise about this chapter is that we are presented to the circus entertainers who are symbolic of the power of the imagination and fancy - something they have passed on to Sissy. Thus it is that Gradgrind finds them unpleasant as they are opposed to his view of the world. The circus people are able to magically transform the white and black monotonous world into a place of colour, magic and vibrancy through the application of their imaginations. An excellent example of this is Kidderminster:

Made up with curls, wreaths, wings, white bismuth, and carmine, this hopeful young person soared into so pleasing a Cupid as to constitute the chief delight of the maternal part of the spectators; but, in private, where his characteristics were a precocious cutaway coat and an extremely gruff voice, he became of the Turf, turfy.

Through the powers of the imagination, this rather normal and annoying character becomes transformed into Cupid and is able to please and charm the audience.

This Chapter then plays an important part in placing Sissy in Gradgrind's house but also giving us more information about what she represents and what is important to her because of her background - Mr. Gradgrind will not be able to"fill" her with facts so easily as he thinks.

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