Level Two - Adventures in Coketown

After meeting with the so-called "Congress of Conspirators," one thing became immediately apparent: many of you had no idea what side of the struggle you belong to. Who were the "friends of Fancy"? And who were the "philosophes of Fact? What was Charles Dickens's position in all this? After all he called the gathering, didn't he? And who was the mysterious woman who had been sighted delivering several of the cryptic postcards that all travellers have received? And lastly, did Professeur Comte's disappearance have anything to do with all of this? More information was needed, that was for sure, but it's time for you to start choosing a side in the secret struggle for the soul Western Europe: Will you be a "friend of Fancy" (i.e. a Romantic) or a "philosophe of Fact" (i.e. a Positivist Utilitarian)? The time to choose is now:

Make sure you record in your "Adventures in Cokeland" folder what side you're leaning towards...

Something else was clear as well: you needed to brush up even more on the local vocabulary:

Vocabulary Words for Level Two can be found here.

Instructions for vocabulary tutorial can be found via the link above.

It's also beginning to occur to you that whoever slipped the note under your door wanted you to encounter this very specific set of characters and personalities, so perhaps you should take inventory. Create a graphic table or spreadsheet that has a column or row for each of the following characters: Mr. Gradgrind, Mr. Bounderby, Sissy Jupe, Mr. Sleary, Tom Gradgrind Jr., & Louisa Gradgrind, and in that table indicate, using category labels, the following: (1) whether the character seems to be more of a "friend of Fancy" or a "philosophe of Fact", (2) his/her social class and occupation (if applicable), & (3) a brief explanation for why the character fits the label you've given them (2 sentences). (The assignment is worth 5XP; it's 10XP if you provide textual citations to support your assessment for each character).

That evening you received another telegram with a mysterious, yet unsurprising, message:

Yes. The timing couldn't be more appropriate. You were eager to visit the famous factories of Coketown, and who knew that the man you stopped in the streets the other night was none other than the well-established, self-made factory owner, Josiah Bounderby! But what was the reference to "hands"? What did that mean?

With this in mind, you decided that you would visit one of Bounderby's establishments first thing tomorrow to find more information related to your research. Again, you know it will be necessary to record your experience with as much detail as possible, which you do in the form of Chapters 10-16 of Book the First from the records known as Hard Times. It would be a good idea to take the time to read over your account once you've completed the process of recording it in your journal. (Take the time to do so now.)


Again, there's so much information to digest in the report you just re-read: new characters, new developments, new themes, and more historical contexts to research. It's time to decide what topic to focus on (make sure it's something different than what you focused on the first time):

Topic One - Historical Context & Setting

1. “19th Century England Social Hierarchy” from hierarchystructure.com:


2. EXCERPT from Engels’s “On the Conditions of the Working Class…”:


3. “Report To the Committee of the Association for the Relief of the Manufacturing and Labouring Poor” by Robert Owen:


4. YouTube video “Karl Marx on Alienation” from BBC Radio 4:


5. Chapter 12 “City, Industry, The Working Class” from The Age of Capital, 1848-1875 by Eric Hobsbawm:


Using resource #1, as well as at least 3 of the sources 2 thru 5, write a 1-2 page report or make a multi-media presentation or make short film or trailer, which describes in detail the experience of the urban working class in 19th century England. Make sure you relate your report to at least 2 textual citations about Stephen Blackpool. Additionally, research one more element of the novel's setting or historical context; you may choose whatever interests you ( but it must be approved by the Gamemaster). Provide at least two sources and 1-2 paragraphs that could be presented to the class in a 5 minute presentation. (The entire assignment is worth 20XP).

Topic Two - Analysis of Character Development

If students decide to focus on character development, they must compose at least 1 well-developed paragraph about each of the following topics below. Each paragraph's topic sentence will function as the thesis statement, and each paragraph needs to have at least 2 chunks with a textual citation. It is worth a total of 15XP.

1. Stephen Blackpool as a character and his relationship to Bounderby

2. Stephen Blackpool as a character and his relationship to Rachael

3. Thomas Gradgrind Sr.'s relationship with Louisa Gradgrind

Also, character analysis students need to find a student who wrote about character development for level one. Take one of the compositions written by that student for purposes of revising and adding to their composition (now that we have learned more about the character in question). The revised, expanded composition will be worth 5 XP (making the points for the entire assignment a total of 20 XP.)

Topic Three - Analysis of Theme Development

Many major themes have come to the surface while reading all of Book the First of Hard Times: (1) Fact versus Fancy, (2) the Mechanization of Human Life, (3) Unhappy Families and Homelives, (4) the Clash of Social Classes, & (5) the Loss of Innocence via Experience.

Select at least 3 of the above themes; for each topic, find at least 2 passages (6 altogether) where the theme in question is made apparent. For each passage compose a well developed paragraph that summarizes what takes place and explains how it develops the theme in question (6 total paragraphs). You may team up with a partner for this task for 20XP or work alone for 25XP. Be prepared to present your findings to the class on a given discussion day.


Before moving on to the Level 2 online quotes quiz, make sure you update your table of characters that you made at the beginning of this level for purposes of identifying whether a character fits the label of "friends of Fancy" or "philosophes of Fact": two possible additions to the table would be Stephen Blackpool and Rachael. Once you've made the updates, you may attempt to master the level 2 quotes quiz:


(Mastery of quotes quiz is worth 10 XP!)