Hard Times Book I, Chapter 7: Questions and Answers

Charles Dickens

Book I, Chapter 7: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is Mrs. Sparsit occupied in making for her employer?

2. How much does Mr. Bounderby pay yearly for Mrs. Sparsit’s services?

3. Where did the late Mr. Sparsit die, and of what?

4. What has to happen before Tom Gradgrind can start to work for Bounderby?

5. Who speaks “with a kind of social widowhood” upon her?

6. Who is said to have a “moral infection of clap-trap in him”?

7. When does Mr. Gradgrind lower his voice?

8. What is the “oversight” Gradgrind mentions?

9. Which of Mrs. Sparsit’s facial features are most pronounced?

10. Who is to be “reclaimed and formed” and in what way?

Answers
1. Mrs. Sparsit is preparing Mr. Bounderby’s breakfast tea.

2. Mr. Bounderby gives Mrs. Sparsit 100 pounds a year.

3. Mr. Sparsit died from consuming too much brandy in Calais, France.

4. Tom must finish up his education before coming to work for Bounderby.

5. Mrs. Sparsit is said to speak with an air of “social widowhood.”

6. This phrase applies to Mr. Bounderby; Dickens is referring to the way strangers, ordinarily modest, take to boasting about him.

7. Mr. Gradgrind lowers his voice when he talks to Louisa about her reading.

8. Mr. Gradgrind is referring to Sissy’s failure to include Mrs. Sparsit in her curtseying.

9. Mrs. Sparsit has a long “Coriolanian” (Roman) nose and “dense black eyebrows.”

10. Sissy Jupe is to be reclaimed and formed by the education she will receive at Gradgrind’s.