• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What techniques does Dickens employ in his depiction of Mrs Sparsit and what is her function in the novel "Hard Times"?

Extracts from this document...


"Mrs Sparsit is merely a caricature created to entertain" What techniques does Dickens employ in his depiction of Mrs Sparsit and what is her function in the novel "Hard Times"? Mrs Sparsit is one of the characters used in the novel for comic purposes but through her Dickens satirises the importance, at that time, of being "highly connected" and the selfishness of looking out for "number one" only. Dickens chooses her to have very distinct features for example a "Coriolanian style of nose", which he repeats several times throughout the novel to establish her as a sinister, as well as a comic character. Throughout the novel Dickens compares Mrs Sparsit to various fanciful images to highlight her comic qualities and for ironical purposes to satirise the Utilitarian philosophy. Dickens almost suggests that she is a witch who could be "suspected of dropping over the banisters or sliding down them", as she prowls about Bounderby's house swiftly. ...read more.


From this point on in the novel she regards Bounderby as a victim, much to his annoyance, as she only senses a miserable future. She repeats several times how she wishes to see Bounderby cheerful as she used to, to remind him of her previous role in his life and reinforce how she believes marrying Louisa was a mistake as Louisa doesn't play backgammon with him or make him his favourite drink. There is comedy in the way that Mrs Sparsit calls Bounderby a "noodle" to his portrait to emphasis the pity she has for him for entering into such a marriage. Whenever in the presence of Louisa she refuses to call her Mrs Bounderby, but prefers to call her Miss Gradgrind which is very insulting as Louisa is no longer a child but Bounderby's wife. She takes on a role in front of Louisa as a humble woman for example by kissing Bounderby's hand and calling him her "benefactor" but this is a technique by Dickens to exaggerate her character and make her more irritating. ...read more.


Mrs Sparsit's fascination with Louisa on the "brink of the abyss" reaches new heights in "Lower and Lower" as she tries to play detective in the Harthouse-Louisa mystery. This chapter is very comic as well as melodramatic. Again her caricature dimension is reinforced when she accepts Mr Bounderby's invitation to his house with, "your will is to me a law", and stating her pity for him and urging him to "be buoyant". Dickens describes her as "pouncing", "darting" and "diving" when chasing Louisa and he engages the reader in Mrs Sparsit's thoughts of urgency as she asks herself, "Where will she wait for him?" "Where will they go together?" Her swift moves, occasional outbursts and final breakdown, "burst into tears of bitterness", could be described as melodramatic but I think it is necessary, for it Dickens to mimic and satirise the women who was "well born" and who is know running around in the rain acting like a "Robinson Crusoe". It amplifies how far she has fallen down the social ladder and allows Dickens to show how he believes that placing such importance on people with wealthy backgrounds is misplaced. Louise Terallis ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hard Times section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Hard Times essays

  1. 'What are the reasons which Dickens gives for the hard times described in the ...

    Ironically, when Bounderby experiences marriage problems later in the novel he just dismisses Louisa. He is a member of the lower class residents of Coketown and works as one of the hands in Bounderby's factory as he has had no education.

  2. By the end of Book 1, Dickens's criticism of Gradgrind's utilitarian thinking is apparent. ...

    It is not only the episodes described above setting Louisa against Gradgrind and his utilitarian philosophy - but also the language that Dickens uses throughout. He uses a satirical approach to Gradgrind. His name alone is a ridicule of his personality, shows the hard, industrial person who manufactures the children grinding the facts into them.

  1. Looking at 'Down', consider how Dickens presents the impact that Gradgrind's philosophy has had ...

    This shows his failure to understand the real moral of Luke 10:29-37, which is that the Good Samaritan has in fact gained something but this cannot be measured, and therefore in Gradgrind's view he has gained nothing. This is also part of the moral message that the novel is trying

  2. Hard Times" is a novel concerned to shake some people in the terrible mistake ...

    Dickens opinion of the system continues as he calls the second chapter, "Murdering the Innocents". He is suggesting that by depriving the children's minds of fancy will eventually ruin them, a theme shown through Gradgrind's children. The use of terms like "girl number twenty" in the school contributes to the

  1. Explore the presentation of Mrs Sparsit both here and elsewhere in the novel 'Hard ...

    We get many clues that Mrs Sparsit that Mrs Sparsit is fond of Mr Bounderby in more ways than one and we pick up on this because of her reaction to the marriage. In book 1 Mrs Sparsit is the fuel that keeps Bounderby's already huge ego going.

  2. What literary techniques does Charles Dickens employ in order to satirise the education system ...

    'The scene was a plain, bare, monotonous vault of a schoolroom..." Dickens reveals that the school is dull and lifeless; there is no colour in the room or images that could stimulate a Childs mind. The word vault makes us think of a safe, a hard metal prison-like box that

  1. analysis of hard time by charles dickens

    Dickens stays close to the classical trilogy/tripartite structures by dividing the work into three books that have an inherent narrative: after sowing comes reaping, after reaping comes garnering (though one can often reap and sow and leave it at that).

  2. Heightened Representations of Reality in Dickens' Hard Times.

    The narration is also more factual and in direct contrast with the "fancy" that Dickens seeks to uphold. This factual style present throughout Hard Times just further reinforces the constant presence of fact in Dickens' fabricated world of factories and Chokemchild schools.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work