Like Bounderby, Tom, and Mrs. Sparsit, Harthouse is motivated only by his own interest and does not consider how his actions might impact other people. Through these characters, Dickens again illustrates the moral dangers of a society that values fact more than feeling. Ultimately, Harthouse, the worldly cynic, is completely overpowered by Sissy Jupe, the loving innocent; he is easily sent away from Coketown, never to threaten Louisa again.

In this section of the novel, Dickens returns to the issue of the Hands’ unionization, again suggesting that unionization does not in fact unite individuals, but divides them, turning one person against another. While Slackbridge repeatedly addresses the other Hands as “fellow-countrymen,” “fellow-brothers,” “fellow-workmen,” and “fellow-citizens,” he ironically encourages them to exclude Stephen from their fellowship. Rather than supporting their fellow worker in his time of need, they disown him. Rachael sums up Stephen’s predicament when she declares despairingly: “The masters against him on one hand, the men against him on the other, he only wantin’ to work hard in peace, and do what he felt right. Can a man have no soul of his own, no mind of his own?” In his unfailing integrity and his desire for peace and harmony, Stephen becomes a martyr. He suffers not only for what he believes in but also for another person’s crime.