Comedic Relief in the Bleek Novel, Hard Times by Charles Dickens

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In every bleak novel there is one character who is always there for comedic relief; in Hard Times, that character is Mrs. Sparsit. Mrs. Sparsit is the housekeeper for Mr. Bounderby. Essentially she does all the work that a wife would do except she has a lower status than a wife, but higher than a servant. Here in lies the problem that she cannot deal with. Mrs. Sparsit came from a well-to-do family, but slipped in the social rankings. To regain her pride, she attempts to sabotage Mr. Bounderby’s marriage, but in doing so only makes her a fool. In this passage, a robbery has just occurred and the townspeople are trying to figure out who the perpetrator is. As of right now, they believe it is Stephen Blackpool. Shaken by the events, Mrs. Sparsit stays at Mr. Bounderby’s house. The purpose of this passage is to show that it is not Mr. Bounderby who is the fool, but rather Mrs. Sparsit, who does not seem to understand that her actions against Bounderby do not have an impact on him at all. What does Mr. Bounderby care about? Certainly not Mrs. Sparsit. Mr. Bounderby is an egotistical man who only cares about his social status and money. He married Louisa with the goal in mind to make her his trophy wife and to have connections with Mr. Gradgrind – it has nothing to do with his emotional connection with Louisa. Thus, Mrs. Sparsit’s “determination to pity Mr. Bounderby” is completely futile. Mrs. Sparsit continues to attempt to please Mr. Bounderby

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