Welcome to Level Four - Adventures in Coketown
The next morning, you descend from your room at the Travellers' Coffee House, and immediately you notice something strange about the dining room. On one side sits a group of travellers conversing exclusively together in a kind of closed circle - every once in a while one member would look up to scan the room suspiciously as if making sure no one could hear their conversation. On the other side of the room, another group of "conspirators" was doing the same. The room was literally divided into two camps, making it official: the sides had been taken and the lines were drawn in the clandestine war of Fact versus Fancy.
There was an undeniable air of tension floating through the room, and the collegiality among travellers had waned significantly. You knew your side, and you took your seat accordingly. After you sit down, a co-conspirator turns to you and asks, "Have you heard the news? There will be another "Congress of Conspirators" at Pegasus' Arms a week from today! This time, however, there will be a debate between the "Friends of Fancy" and the "Philosophes of Fact," and we must prepare!"
A debate? Your comrade was right. You need to brush up your language skills even more, but this time you need to go beyond studying the vocabulary of the region; it's time to explore literary and rhetorical style:
You've done much work to improve your command of poetic and persuasive language, but the debate won't take place until next week, so you decide to spend your spare time observing the characters of Coketown in more depth. With Stephen Blackpool departing and Gradgrind being at Parliament, you're specifically interested in continuing your study of the Bounderby household as well as its many visitors (such as James Harthouse). Record your reflections in Hard Times in form of Chapters 7 through 12 of Book the Second, and when you finish, make sure you carefully read over what you've added to your report.
When you put down the report, you can't help but think about Louisa and her relationship with her father, Mr. Gradgrind. The amount of misery in Louisa's life saddens you, and the thought occurs that, although the answer to the secret of happiness still escapes your inquiry, the reasons for misery are becoming more and more clear to you as sociologue (or "sociologist" as the English are calling it). In a moment of inspiration, you decide to write a letter to the subjects of your observations:
Choose one of the following 2 options:
1. Write a letter to Louisa. Explain to her what you've witnessed about her development. Remind her of who she was before her decline into passive depression. Explain to her where and when things began to develop negatively for her. What words of encouragement would you extend to her, and what advice would you give her for moving forward? Is there any wisdom you could share at this point in relation to the secret to human happiness? Make sure the letter is several paragraphs and uses the text as evidence or support for your claims. (15XP)
2. Write a letter to Thomas Gradgrind Sr. Explain to him what you've witnessed about his parenting philosophy. What advice would you give him about his parenting tactics? How would you explain to him what went wrong with Louisa's development? And what advice would you give him about moving forward in his role as father figure for both Louisa and Tom Jr.? Is there any wisdom you could share at this point in terms of what's the secret to human happiness? Make sure the letter is several paragraphs and uses the text as evidence or support for your claims. (15XP)
When you walk to the post office (which could have been the infirmary or the jail or both...) to deliver the letter, the clerk at the desk looks up and immediately responds with excitement: "Oh Brilliant! I've been holding a postcard for you."
"Was it delivered by a woman or a man?"
"It's funny you mention that. Come to think of it, I actually have 2 postcards for you! One was delivered by a woman and another by an Englishman."
He hands you the telegrams and you immediately read their contents:
"The laws of thought are perfect; language is the problem." What could that mean!? And what did the first note imply by the ominous word "Beware"? Language is a perplexing thing, the more you think about it. Oftentimes, it can be persuasive, captivating, and perhaps even manipulative because the "style" and rhetoric one employs can profoundly influence a person's perspective about the world. With all this swimming in your head, you make preparations to attend the 2nd Congress of Conspirators.