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Hard Times

Hard Times

by Charles Dickens

Sissy Jupe Timeline and Summary

  • Sissy grows up the daughter of a clown in Sleary's circus.
  • When the circus troupe performs in Coketown, Sissy enrolls in Gradgrind's school.
  • Her father abandons her, and she is taken in by Gradgrind to be a kind of servant in his house.
  • A few years later, Sissy is the only one who will acknowledge the truth about Louisa's really gross engagement to really gross Bounderby. So, she and Louisa stop being friends.
  • Sissy cares for Mrs. Gradgrind and for Jane, Louisa's sister, until Mrs. Gradgrind's death.
  • When Louisa collapses after confronting her father, Sissy takes care of her until she recovers. The two then restore their friendship.
  • Sissy also befriends Rachael, Stephen's would-be love.
  • Ever the realist who sees through everyone's facades, Sissy is the first to realize that Tom is the bank robber.
  • To calm Rachael after Stephen does not return to answer the charges against him, Sissy takes her for a walk in the country. The two then find Stephen trapped at the bottom of Old Hell Shaft.
  • While Stephen is being rescued, Sissy arranges for Tom to leave town and be hidden from justice in Sleary's circus.
  • Sissy ends her life surrounded by loving children (and thus in theory married, though we don't know to whom).

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