Hard Times Book II, Chapters 7-8: Questions and Answers

Charles Dickens

Book II, Chapters 7-8: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. According to Mr. Harthouse, what is the only difference between the “hard Fact fellows” and their opponents, the “philanthropists” and “professors of virtue”?

2. What does Mr. Harthouse write to his brother soon after his arrival in Coketown?

3. What does Mr. Bounderby say were the only pictures in his possession as a youth?

4. Who is the previous owner of Bounderby’s summer house?

5. In the course of their conversation in the forest clearing, Louisa confides to Harthouse that she has been doing what for her brother, Tom?

6. What is Tom doing as he walks through the trees on Bounderby’s estate, not knowing that Harthouse and his sister are observing him?

7. According to Mr. Bounderby, what does Louisa do when she hears the news of the robbery?

8. In discussing who the perpetrators of the bank robbery might be, which of the many “fictions of Coketown” does Mr. Bounderby give voice to?

9. What remains Mrs. Sparsit’s “greatest point, first and last”?

10. What does Louisa say she wants to know, when she goes to her brother’s room?

Answers
1. Harthouse says the only difference between them is that while the advocates of the hard Fact school and their opponents both know that humanitarianism is “meaningless,” their opponents will never say so.

2. Mr. Harthouse writes that the “Bounderbys were ‘great fun’;…that the female Bounderby…was young and remarkably pretty.”

3. In his youth, the only pictures Bounderby ever owned were engravings on the labels for bottles of shoe polish.

4. The previous owner of Bounderby’s summer house, one Nickits, is a Coketown industrialist who went bankrupt.

5. Louisa tells Harthouse she has been giving Tom sums of money to cover his gambling debts.

6. Tom is idly beating the branches and scratching the moss off of the trees with his cane.

7. Mr. Bounderby reports to Harthouse that Louisa fainted—“dropped, Sir, as if she was shot when I told her!”—when she hears about the robbery.

8. The “fiction of Coketown” that Bounderby repeats is “Show me a dissatisfied Hand, and I’ll show you a man that’s fit for anything bad, I don’t care what it is.”

9. Mrs. Sparsit persists in making a great show of her pity for Mr. Bounderby.

10. Louisa asks Tom if there is some hidden truth that he has to tell her.