The Difference Between Sissy and Bitzer

Topics: Hard Times, Gradgrind, Charles Dickens Pages: 4 (1451 words) Published: July 25, 2001
"Give me your definition of a horse," (Pg 3) says the eminently practical Mr. Thomas Gradgrind of Charles Dickens' unforgettable novel, Hard Times. Can anybody really define a horse? Cecilia Jupe, also known as Sissy, was unable to answer this question because she was, well, normal. Bitzer, the boy brought up in Coketown, the city of facts, answered, "Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely, twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive..." (Pg. 4). Clearly the contrast between Sissy and Bitzer can be seen. The differences between Bitzer and Sissy are shown not only in their definitions of a horse, but also in their physical appearance, personality, background, and the different philosophies that they each represent: fact and fancy.

From the very beginning, Dickens had made it clear to the reader that Sissy represents fancy and Bitzer represents facts. He uses the two characters in many ways to portray the differences between fact and fancy. One way of doing this is describing Sissy and Bitzer's physical appearance. Dickens has a tendency to make his characters' physical appearance reflect their personalities. This is true for both Sissy and Bitzer. Sissy is described as vibrant and full of dark, rich colors. She glows with passion and kindness. Bitzer, on the other hand, is described as a very pale boy. He seems cold and emotionless, with light colored eyes and light colored hair. While Sissy seems to have an aura of goodness, Bitzer does not. He is emotionless. Even in the setting of a classroom, the differences in appearance between Sissy and Bitzer are apparent, for "Sissy, being at the corner of a row on the sunny side, came in for the beginning of a sunbeam, of which Bitzer, being at the corner of a row on the other side, a few rows in advance, caught the end." Sissy seemed to "receive a deeper and more lustrous colour from the sun when it shone upon her," while the same sunbeam "seem to draw out of him (Bitzer) what little...
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