Book the Third, Chapter 5, 'Found'

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This discussion will explore F.R. Leavis's description of Hard Times as a ‘moral fable' by closely looking at Book the Third, Chapter 5, ‘Found’. It will show an analysis of the characters used in the chapter and the part they play in the scene. It will look at the plot and structure, along with the style and language that had been used. There will an exploratory into other work of Dickens and a comparison to other authors in the era.

In Chapter 5, Found, of Book third Mr. Bounderby is shocked and furious at the believed suspect Mrs. Sparsit had brought in. The suspect being identified as Mrs. Pegler was actually Mr. Bounderby’s mother. Mr. Grandgrind accuses and interrogates the woman. But to his amazement everything that Bounderby had mentioned about his past and his mother was all lies. In fact his mother puts him straight about these misunderstandings, by informing him that she educated her son and brought him up as best as she could. Pointing out that it was actually her being abandoned by her own son.

‘How dare you and poke your officious nose into my family affairs?’ (p233)

Here Mr. Bounderby loses his cool with Mrs. Sparsit for prying into his business, especially his ‘family affairs’.

Grandgrind addressed that maligned old lady: “I am surprised madam”, he observed with severity, for that an old age you have the face to claim Mr. Bounderby, for your son, after your unnatural and inhuman treatment of her.”(p.234)

This suggests that if the higher class society had flaws in their past lives they tried to keep it hidden. If being in squalor affected the social status of someone, who had made his wealth and had succeeded in life, points out that it is easier to put the past in the past. But if ...

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...he connection between the social classes and the Industrial revolution aids this idea of a ‘moral fable’.

To conclude a ‘moral fable’ is something that has a deeper meaning than the initial meaning it suggests. To describe Hard Times as one would be right as of the impact it had on both Victorian readers and twenty-first century readers. The history it provides and the comparisons to other novels from its era. Also it doesn’t just dwell on the ‘truth’ and there’s a mixture of fact and fancy.

There as been a comparison of other works produced at the same time. This shows an insight into how Dickens wrote it and its first publication as weekly entries of Household Words. It references part of chapter 5 ‘Found’ of Book the Third. It also gives a little background information of Dickens’ interest of education and the strikes that he witnessed on his visits.
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