Welcome to The Hard Times
Charles Dickens

Issue Number: CD-001

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Mr Dickens and the Simile

'Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.'

A SIMILE is when a writer uses a comparison between two things to describe someone or something.

Similes use the words 'AS' and 'LIKE' in them. So you could have: 'the sun is as yellow as a daffodil' or the 'sun is as yellow as lemon.' Both are different shades of yellow and we know exactly what the writer thinks of the weather by the description.

It's the same with 'the moon is like a piece of tissue paper' or the 'moon is like a cheddar cheese'. We know what the writer is describing with their similes.

Mr Dickens has told us here that Scrooge is 'hard and sharp as flint' and 'solitary as an oyster'.

Once we have used the dictionary, Thesaurus or our teachers to find out what the vocabulary means if we're not sure, then we know that Scrooge is 'as hard and sharp' as a very sharp, cold stone which was used to strike a spark before matches were invented. We know he is lonely and secretive and as hard to open up 'as an oyster'. We might also realise that there may be a pearl inside him which is, of course, what happens at the end of the story. Mr Dickens is helping us to feel that not all is bad with Scrooge.


  1. Download the following word document.
  2. Highlight all the similes based on the information which you have just read.
  3. Save your work.
  4. Return to The Hard Times (Activity 4).
  5. Download the Simile Answer document.
  6. Print out your work and the answer document.
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