Hard Times Book I, Chapter 16: Questions and Answers

Charles Dickens

Book I, Chapter 16: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. The “deadly statistical recorder” in Gradgrind’s study refers to what?

2. When is Louisa, for the first time, a little shaken in the reserved composure she adopts on her wedding day?

3. What does Mrs. Sparsit prefer that Mr. Bounderby call the “terms” (salary) of her employment?

4. What sort of factual knowledge do the wedding guests bring to the Gradgrind-Bounderby wedding feast?

5. Mrs. Sparsit says she has long been under the necessity of “eating the bread of dependence”; what in fact is her favorite supper dish?

6. What precaution does Mr. Bounderby take before communicating to Mrs. Sparsit the news of his upcoming marriage?

7. What horrific image does Mrs. Sparsit’s operation with a scissors on a piece of cambric suggest to Dickens?

8. Where are Louisa and Bounderby going on their honeymoon, and what does Bounderby look forward to finding out when they get there?

9. Mrs. Sparsit accepts her new position at the bank, after assuring herself of what one thing?

10. Louisa and Bounderby are married in a church with what distinctive architectural feature?

Answers
1. The phrase, part of another extended metaphor, refers to Gradgrind’s clock.

2. Louisa’s assumed composure is shaken when her brother embraces her at the bottom of the stairs.

3. Mrs. Sparsit prefers the phrase “annual compliment.”

4. The guests know what everything they eat and drink is made of, how it was imported or exported, and so forth.

5. Mrs. Sparsit’s favorite supper dish is sweetbreads (veal pancreas) in a “savory brown sauce.”

6. Mr. Bounderby stops by a chemist’s (pharmacy) to pick up a bottle of smelling salts before his conversation with Mrs. Sparsit.

7. Mrs. Sparsit at work picking out holes with a scissors on a piece of cambric suggests the image of a “hawk engaged upon the eyes of a tough little bird.”

8. The Bounderbys are traveling to Lyons, in France; Mr. Bounderby wants to look into how the French “hands” are treated, and whether they too “required to be fed with gold spoons.”

9. Mrs. Sparsit wishes to make sure that in accepting this new position she is not further descending the social scale (from personal housekeeper).

10. The church in which Louisa and Bounderby are married has “florid wooden legs.”