Discovering Dickens - A Community Reading Project

 Discovering Dickens

 Hard Times



 Historical Glossary


 Biographical Context


 Historical Context

 Archived Novels







Printable View

Mrs. Sparsit, fallen from her pinnacle of exultation into the Slough of Despond

The Slough of Despond was one of the obstacles faced by Christian, the hero of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim's Progress (1678). This text was very popular during the nineteenth century, and Dickens alluded to Bunyan's work often.

Aged and bent he looked, and quite bowed down; and yet he looked a wiser man, and a better man

This description of Gradgrind after his long night of contemplation may allude to the closing lines of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798):

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.

making his facts and figures subservient to Faith, Hope, and Charity; and no longer trying to grind that Heavenly trio in his dusty little mills

A reference to the well-known passage from 1 Corinthians 13:13: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

the plainest national prosperity figures can show will be the Writing on the Wall

A reference to the story of how the hand of God wrote words foretelling disaster on the wall of King Belshazzar’s palace, related in Daniel 5:5-31.

Bibliographical information

Copyright © 2005 Stanford University. All rights reserved. Stanford, CA 94305, (650)723-2300. Terms of Use