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Hard Times

Hard Times

by Charles Dickens

Turtle Soup, Venison, and a Gold Spoon

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Bounderby's old standby whenever he wants to talk smack about the things his workers want is to bust out their unreasonably (and obviously totally fictitious) desire to eat this fancy, expensive meal. There are probably a couple of things to explore in this symbol of good living. First, this goes to describe another part of Bounderby's character. He is good at making up stories (ahem, lying) so this is yet another myth he invents, this time about the unionized factory Hands. Second, it's interesting that of all the possible ways to indicate unreasonableness (why not, say, "all they want is flying unicorns and magic wands!"), Bounderby goes with the wealthy display of an aristocrat. For someone as obsessed with status, blood purity, and birth as he is, the idea that his workers would suddenly become members of a social class higher than his own must be an extremely stressful thought.

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