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THE STORY

BOOK THE FIRST

CHAPTER XIV

Time has passed, and Gradgrind, now a member of Parliament, decides that young Tom should work at Bounderby's bank. He discontinues Sissy's education, feeling that she has no head for learning. Sissy sadly agrees. She is kept on, however, as an indispensable member of the household.

Gradgrind has plans for Louisa as well, and Tom tells her that these plans have something to do with Bounderby. Tom reminds her of their own close relationship (even though he sees little of her now that he's working), and Louisa agrees to remember how much they mean to each other.


NOTE: DICKENS'S USE OF METAPHORS
At the end of this chapter, Dickens compares Time to a weaver, spinning threads that become a woman. What kind of woof would he weave now? Louisa wonders. ("Woof" is a weaving term meaning texture or fabric.) Dickens writes, "But, his factory is a secret place, his work is noiseless, and his Hands are mutes." This kind of comparison is known as an "extended metaphor." Two different things are being compared (Time and a weaver) as in a regular metaphor. But the metaphor is extended to include other parallels: the woof becomes the pattern of Louisa's future, the place Time works is a silent factory, his workers are mute hands, etc. The extended metaphor is one of Dickens's most famous stylistic traits.
 

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