Study Guide

Hard Times Book 3, Chapter 4

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Book 3, Chapter 4


  • Bounderby puts up reward posters for any information about Stephen Blackpool, letting the whole town know that he is suspected of robbing the bank.
  • Meanwhile, Slackbridge, the unionizing guy, uses one of these posters to show all the workers how right they were to cast Stephen out and isolate him.
  • Bounderby, Tom, and Rachael come to see Louisa and Sissy at Gradgrind's house.
  • Rachael asks Louisa to confirm that Louisa came to see her and Stephen at his house before he disappeared. Louisa tells everyone, including her father, about that evening. Rachael starts crying and says that Stephen was the most honest man she has ever known, and would never rob anything. She adds that she wrote Stephen a letter about the accusation and he should be back in two days to clear his name.
  • Bounderby is angry (actually, we're pretty sure that there hasn't been a scene yet where he isn't angry…), and storms off. Tom follows him.
  • Gradgrind is sad at the idea of this honest man being accused. Sissy and Louisa look at each other knowingly – they both have figured out that Tom is the real thief.
  • A week goes by and Stephen does not come back.

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