Education,  Read Along,  Show Notes

Episode 140: “Hard Times” by Charles Dickens, Book 1, Ch. 11-16

Today on The Literary Life Podcast, our hosts continue their series on Charles Dickens’ Hard Times. Angelina, Cindy and Thomas open the conversation with their commonplace quotes, which all lead into the discussion of Hard Times. They start out highlighting once again the fairytale and allegory aspects of this story, including the setting of Coketown. Together they talk about the two sides of Sissy Jupe’s education, along with the situations and portrayals of the other key characters in this section. A large part of the discussions centers around the ideas of input and output versus sowing and reaping.

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Commonplace Quotes:

The ways of authorship are dusty and stony, and the stones are only too handy for throwing at the few that, deservedly or undeservedly, have made a name.

Andrew Lang, from “How to Fail in Literature”

To taboo knowledge is not to secure innocence. We must remember that ignorance is not innocence, and also that ignorance is the parent of insatiable curiosity.

Charlotte Mason

Early in 1851, Dickens suggested in Household Words that a second exhibition be held of “England’s sins and negligences.” When he finally went to the Crystal Palace, he described it as “terrible duffery.” He wrote in July 1851, “I find I am used up by the exhibition. I don’t say there is nothing in it. There is too much. I have only been twice. So many things bewildered me. I have a natural horror of sights, and the fusion of so many sights in one has not decreased it. I’m not sure that I have seen anything but the fountain and perhaps the Amazon. It is a dreadful thing to be obliged to be false, but when anyone says, ‘Have you seen…?’ I say, ‘Yes’, because if I don’t he’ll explain it, and I can’t bear that.

Julia Baird, quoting Charles Dickens

from “Ode On a Distant Prospect of Clapham Academy”

by Thomas Hood

Ah me! those old familiar bounds! 
That classic house, those classic grounds 
My pensive thought recalls! 
What tender urchins now confine, 
What little captives now repine, 
Within yon irksome walls? 

Ay, that’s the very house! I know 
Its ugly windows, ten a-row! 
Its chimneys in the rear! 
And there’s the iron rod so high, 
That drew the thunder from the sky 
And turn’d our table-beer!

There I was birch’d! there I was bred! 
There like a little Adam fed 
From Learning’s woeful tree! 
The weary tasks I used to con!— 
The hopeless leaves I wept upon!— 
Most fruitless leaves to me!—

The summon’d class!—the awful bow!— 
I wonder who is master now 
And wholesome anguish sheds! 
How many ushers now employs, 
How many maids to see the boys 
Have nothing in their heads!

Book List:

Formation of Character by Charlotte Mason

The Ink Black Heart (Cormoran Strike Book 6) by Robert Galbraith

Victoria: The Queen by Julia Baird

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