Hard Times

What significance does the name Sissy have?

The names Stephen Blackpool and Mr. McChoakumchild suggest something about Dickens' use of those characters. Does the same hold true for Sissy?

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Sissy's name, like the names of all Dickens characters is extremely significant. Sissy's life in the circle is world of love. The entertainers make up an enormous family that work, suffer, share, and celebrate together. Sissy is a "sister" in that very large extended family.

Her name is also significant when she leave the circus to live with the Gradgrind family. Mr. Grandgrind's two oldest children have lived a life of "grind," filled with nothing but the facts and lessons that leave them cold and unaware of what a family bond truly is. They know how to please their father, but they do not know how to love him. Thus, the young "Sissy" again becomes a sister, especially to the youngest Grandgrind daughter Jane. Sissy raises Jane in a way that Louisa never experienced, and in turn, Jane in a far happier human being.