Hard Times Book III, Chapter 6: Questions and Answers

Charles Dickens

Book III, Chapter 6: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why do Sissy and Rachael, as they walk together in the countryside, avoid mounds of high grass?

2. Why do Sissy and Rachael not wish to look closely at Stephen’s hat?

3. How does Sissy get Rachael to stop screaming?

4. Who holds the watch that tells how long the men have been down the shaft?

5. What can “practiced eyes” tell about the action of the windlass the first time it is brought up?

6. Which of the pitmen is the first to inform the crowd of Stephen’s condition?

7. What has broken Stephen’s fall?

8. Where was Stephen headed to before he fell?

9. What is Stephen’s first utterance after he is delivered from the pit?

10. The litter on which he is being carried seems to Stephen to be moving in what direction?

Answers
1. Sissy and Rachael avoid these mounds because of stories that old pits are sometimes hidden under them.

2. The two women fear that the hat may be stained with blood, indicating that Stephen had met with foul play.

3. Sissy keeps repeating “Think of Stephen, think of Stephen” until Rachael calms down.

4. The surgeon announces how long the men have been down the shaft.

5. Mechanically-minded observers would know that the windlass was pulling in such a way as to have only one passenger.

6. The pitman who makes the announcement is the “sobered” man whom Sissy discovered asleep by the engine house.

7. Stephen has landed on a “mass of crumpled rubbish with which the pit was half choked up…his fall had been further broken by some jagged earth at the side.”

8. Stephen was headed to Bounderby’s summer house, intending to clear himself of the banker’s charges.

9. The first thing Stephen says is Rachael’s name.

10. Stephen has the impression that the litterbearers are moving in the direction of the star that has shone down on him for so long as he lay in the shaft.