Welcome to Level Three - Adventures in Coketown

With Louisa and Mr. Bounderby gone to Lyon, France for their honeymoon as well as for Bounderby's business (What "an eminently practical" fellow, you think to yourself), you decide to take some time off from your studies, and instead spend your days resting at what has become a home away from home: the Travellers' Coffee House. One thing you continue to work on is your language skills, so make sure you take advantage of your off-time to increase your proficiency:

Vocabulary Words for Level Three can be found here

After 2 weeks of leisurely study, you descend from your room one morning to discover a postcard has been left with the porter. Of course, the young man informs you that it's intended for your eyes alone.

"Did a woman leave this for me? Perhaps an English woman?"

"No, I believe it was an Englishman, an educated gentleman of sorts with dark, bushy facial hair. He called himself Boz. Strange chap, to tell you the truth. Lots of ink stains on his hands; guessing he's a writer of some sort. He wrote you this and asked I deliver it post haste!"

As the man hands you the telegram, you direct your eyes downward to read its message:

Interesting that he decided to emphasize the words "heart" and "bridge." The message also seems to reveal that Mr. Dickens knows something about the purpose of your research. Does Dickens desire the same answers? Is that why we're all in Coketown? One thing's for sure: It's time to catch up on what's been happening in Coketown. Bounderby's back and much has developed apparently. You decide to start your research by visiting Bounderby's other major enterprise: the Bank.

It seems that rumor has it that more "conspiratorial characters" are expected in Coketown, so you waste no time to start recording more of your observations. And getting the note from the Boz himself inspires you even more to study thoroughly the latest installment of your sociological narrative: Chapters 1-6 of Book the Second in Hard Times. (Take the time to study your account now.)

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Again, your report contains a lot to digest, perhaps too much for one person. Before beginning to make sense of it all, you decide to take a moment to update your character table/spreadsheet now that 2 new characters have become the focus of your account: Mr. James Harthouse and Slackbridge. You decide to do something more, however. You add your name to the spreadsheet to see how you compare to the characters you've encountered (updates are worth 5XP).

At this point you've focused on 2 of the following 3 topics: (1) Historical Context & Setting (2) Analysis of Character Development or (3) Analysis of Theme. Pick the 1 topic you have not focused on at this point in the Coketown journey and complete the relevant assignment:

Topic One - Historical Context & Setting

1. 1832 Reform Act:

http://spartacus-educational.com/PR1832.htm

2. “A Chronology of Social Change and Social Reform in Great Britain…” from victorianweb.org:

http://www.victorianweb.org/history/socialism/chronology.html

3. Parliamentary Reform and Compromise from Linda Colley’s Britons: Forging the Nation:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2IkraEAu1OfMndBa1hTaTJBQ3M/view?usp=sharing

4. Encyclopedia Britannica article on the “Trade Union” from www.britannica.com:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/trade-union

5. Mark Starr’s “A Worker Looks at History” from www.marxists.org:

https://www.marxists.org/archive/starr-mark/worker-looks-history/ch17.htm

6. The British Library’s entry “Dreamers and Dissenters” on the Chartist movement:

http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/21cc/struggle/chartists1/summary/chartism.html

7. BBC’s “The Chartist Movement: 1838-1848” by Stephen Roberts:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/chartist_01.shtml

Using resource #1, as well as at least 4 other of the above sources, write a 1-2 page report or make a multi-media presentation or make a short film, which describes in detail the experience of labor reform, the rise of unions, and the effort to improve workers' rights in 19th century England. Make sure you relate your report to at least 2 textual citations about Stephen Blackpool or Slackbridge. Additionally, find someone who is either focusing on Character Development or Theme Analysis, and together use each other's research to make a 5-10 minute presentation (with media) on how your findings are related in some way. (It is worth 30XP)

You can earn an additional 10XP if you work with a 2nd person who also needs a partner to complete the required collaboration component.

Topic Two - Analysis of Character Development

1st Task: There were 2 new characters introduced in Chapters 1-6 of Book the Second: James Harthouse and Slackbridge. Choose one of the aforementioned characters a write a short form character analysis that has a stand-alone thesis statement and at least 2 well-developed paragraphs. There must be textual citations as well.

2nd Task: Thinking all the way back to the moment they were caught spying on the circus, one thing becomes undeniably clear: Both Louisa Gradgrind Bounderby and Tom Gradgrind Jr. have changed quite dramatically. In a short form paper (with a stand-alone thesis and at least two well-developed paragraphs) compare both Louisa's and Tom's development as characters.

Both of the above tasks are worth a total of 20XP.

3rd Task: Find someone who is either focusing on Historical Context & Setting or Theme Analysis, and together use each other's research to make a 5-10 minute presentation (with media) on how your findings are related in some way. (10 XP, making all 3 tasks a total of 30XP).

You can earn an additional 10XP if you work with a 2nd person who also needs a partner to complete the required collaboration component.

Topic Three - Analysis of Theme Development

In the opening chapters of Book the Second, several themes continue to be developed:

  • Clash of Social Classes
  • Loss of Innocence through Experience
  • Fact versus Fancy
  • Mechanization of Human Life
  • Unhappy Homelives

Select at least 2 of the above themes and for each selected theme write a short form paper (which includes a stand-alone thesis and at least 2 well developed paragraphs) that explains how this idea has become one of the central areas where conflict arises in the story. What is Dickens saying about this conflict in terms of its origins and its dangers? (Worth a total of 20XP)

Additional Task: Find someone who is either focusing on Historical Context & Setting or Character Analysis, and together use each other's research to make a 5-10 minute presentation (with media) on how your findings are related in some way. (10 XP, making the entire task a total of 30XP).

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After completing this round of research, you decide to revisit the question of loyalty in the secret war between Fact and Fancy. Do your alliances remain the same? Has anything you've seen or read thus far influenced your committment either way?