• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Childhood is an integral theme in both Hard Times and God of Small Things

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How successful do you feel the authors are in portraying the world of childhood? Childhood is an integral theme in both Hard Times and God of Small Things but both authors have tackled the issue in a vastly different way. Arundhati Roy focuses her book very much on the way children relate to the world around them, while Dickens tends to look more at how children are treated by the rest of the world. This small change in perspective gives a vastly different view of children's lives, which are further enhanced by the writing styles of the two authors. Roy's greatest gift is her power of memory, the kind of memory Charles Dickens is famous for and a small number of other writers such as George Eliot and the poet Wordsworth, which can bring alive for the reader what most of us have forgotten but can recall if jogged. What it felt like to be a child, "a stranger and afraid in a world we never made", yet endowed with as much or more ability to experience the supposedly adult emotions of anxiety, jealousy, grief, despair, as well as what Rahel's uncle Chacko tells her are "possible in Human Nature. Love. Madness. Hope. Infinite Joy". The novel's lead characters, Rahel and her twin brother, Estha, become fit carriers for whatever the novel is saying about the ...read more.

Middle

He knows precisely what his seniors are looking for ("Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth...") and by giving them the answers they look for he gains enough of their trust and respect to cover his lack of scientific intelligence and to gain information he wants from them. He becomes an expert at understanding Mrs Sparsit and soon begins to have control over her by merely placing ideas in her grasp and letting her take the credit for them "you did object to names being used, and they're always best avoided". To watch Bitzer converse with Mrs Sparsit is highly amusing as we are directly seeing Dickens ridiculing her through the boy: "He now and then slided into 'my lady', instead of 'ma'am', as an involuntary acknowledgement of Mrs Sparsit's dignity". Dickens uses Bitzer as a fine example that children (or youths, at this stage in the book) have every right to be as sharp and manipulative as the adults are. Louisa can also be incredibly acute at times, demonstrated as she conversed with Mr Harthouse, leaving Bounderby perplexed by the speed and insightful nature of their conversation. Harthouse's innocent phrase "because I have no choice of opinions" is quickly torn apart by an astute Louisa who jumps in: "Have you none of your own". The rapid fire exchange is broken only by Mr Bounderby mentioning the postponement of dinner. ...read more.

Conclusion

While this does little to weaken the criticism that Hard Times makes it must be taken into account that when Dickens wrote it, it probably didn't seem quite as absurd as it does to us today. Roy presents the case of modern children of a younger age than Hard Times' characters so they are in most ways less hardened to life's cruelties. Instead Roy presents them coping with the troubles that young children have to overcome, and more importantly she tries to consider the thoughts that Estha and Rahel would be having whilst in these situations. This is where her memory and understanding of children really seem to come into their own. She manages to provoke feelings in her readers from their background that enables them to form a strong bond with her young characters, on a peer level rather than that on her seniors as Dickens tends to do. It is hard to say one author does a better job at presenting childhood than the other because they both focus on different areas of the maturing mind, but I feel Roy has done a very thought-provoking and insightful study of childhood in a fast paced page-turning style, where Dickens has instead attempted, and succeeded in making a lighter, and perhaps more fun, family targeted story book that aims to entertain and occupy the reader, rather than forcing them to take a hard look children and their lives. Word Count: 2256 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hard Times section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Hard Times essays

  1. Compare and Contrast the role of Character and Characterization in the novels 'Hard Times' ...

    Through Stephen, Dickens suggests that industrialization threatens to compromise both the employees' and employers' moral integrity, whereas, it is through Larry, Greenwood portrays the exploitation of the economic system. Incidentally, Larry's work colleagues get him sacked and although Larry regularly helps other people, they still dislike him.

  2. analysis of hard time by charles dickens

    The second chapter, "Murdering the Innocents," foreshadows this chapter, "A Loophole." Just as the theological commentary on Herod's Bethlehem massacre (allusion from Chapter 2) focuses on the escape of the Christ child in the midst of the mass murder, the "Loophole" now offers escape from the "Murdering."

  1. By the end of Book 1, Dickens's criticism of Gradgrind's utilitarian thinking is apparent. ...

    She is adamantly clear that she is not happy to marry him, but satisfied. She is also clear that she wants Bounderby to know this. When Gradgrind marries Louisa to Mr Bounderby, a pretentious man who cares for nothing but himself, he does not realise what harm he is doing.

  2. Y10 English Literature Coursework

    Her father reacts to this by telling her, 'you are childish' which is also ironic because she is still a child by law. He also asks her 'what would your best friends say?' but she doesn't even have any friends.

  1. Explain how the theme of education is presented in Hard Times. What comments do ...

    This extract shows what kind of an adult Gradgrind has turned out to be. He seems to be devoid of any needless emotions and is sCeptical of anything he is not sure about and is ready to deduce what it is using scientific reasoning and logic.

  2. Charles Dickens - A disscussion on "HardTimes".

    to get at the men who built and own the town, who are like Mr.Gradgrind and are therefore wrong in their views. I think that Dickens' most clear opinion of the social system at that time comes out in this chapter as he describes the working class sarcastically, from the upper class' point of view.

  1. The purpose of this essay is to consider what role the circus folk play ...

    The purpose of the school is to produce future citizens of Coketown that are uniform and do not question what could have been, Sissy does not fit within this mould as she feels and by feeling she has fancies which is against the principal ideas of Coketown.

  2. Looking at 'Down', consider how Dickens presents the impact that Gradgrind's philosophy has had ...

    her to be happy, but because he wants an easy life and thinks that if Louisa is Bounderby's wife, then Bounderby, as his employer will go easy on him knowing how much she cares for him. Tom says: "I shall very well know how to manage and smooth old Bounderby"..."...

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work