Study Guide

Mrs. Blackpool in Hard Times

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Mrs. Blackpool

There's not too much to say about Stephen's wife, Mrs. Blackpool. A few things: note that it's only we at Shmoop who care enough to give her a name. In the novel she is not ever called by a name. Which – meaning alert! – might have something to do with her being kind of sub-human. She is an alcoholic who periodically comes to sell off all of Stephen's stuff. She's the reason he and Rachael can't get together. Not to get all biographical on you or anything, but Dickens was not all that happy with Mrs. Dickens at about the time he wrote this novel. In fact, Dickens was about to leave Mrs. Dickens for another woman. There might or might not be a little bit of real-life resentment about the whole can't-easily-divorce thing bleeding into this character. We're just saying.

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