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Commentary on "hard times" by charles dickens extract

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Introduction

Commentary on an extract of Charles Dickens' Hard Times "Father, I have often thought that life is very short." Charles Dickens', Hard Times extract focuses on the relationship between a father and daughter discussing marriage during the nineteenth century. In this extract there is the daughter, Louisa, who is discussing her marriage to Mr. Bounderby with her father. She is worried yet excited about getting married. Her Father is concerned yet unaware of what his daughter means to say. This story is told in a third person narrative. The main characters in the passage are Louisa and her Father Mr. Gradgrind. In the extract Louisa has to deal with her father's unawareness and she has to decide whether or not to marry Mr. Bounderby. Mr. Gradgrind, Louisa's father, doesn't understand his daughter. She tries to tell him how she feels, but he doesn't realize this. "Father, I have often thought that life is very short." By this Louisa means to say that she wants to find love and affection and that she doesn't want life or the marriage to prevent her from finding this. ...read more.

Middle

Bounderby, on the other hand, sounds like a person with expectations and dreams. He sounds like a wealthy man with boundaries and control. You can also guess that Louisa and her Father are middle class because of their language in the passage. Mr. Gradgrind says "I do not see the application of the remark." This indicates that the language is that of someone in the middle or upper class. In the beginning of the passage Louisa and her father, Mr. Gradgrind, are sitting in a room that overlooks the chimneys of Coketown. '..She sat so long looking silently towards the town that he said, at length: "Are you consulting the chimneys of the Coketown works, Louisa?"' Already we can see the arrangement of words is different from today's language indicating it is most likely of an earlier period. The punctuation is different from present day as well for the reason that Dickens uses more commas in the extract. As the conversation continues we see more signs of the language being of an earlier period, and a dilemma is formed. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the passage the third person narrative is effective. It forces you to build up an image in your mind, kind of creating a mental film of what happening. "Mr. Gradgrind had drawn his chair a little nearer to her, and taken her hand." In the text there is also some alliteration: "..Steady straight..." It helps to create an atmosphere. Dickens writes in a way so that the text flows and pulls you in. Since this is a piece of the extract from a novel it is tricky to analyze it without relating it to the whole novel. What we can get from it is that the central purpose of this passage is to explain how things between a father and daughter during this time period work. What went through their minds, how they felt about marriage and what their fathers wanted them to do. With descriptive conversation that portrays another meaning, Charles Dickens had managed to create a short calm scene. The passage teaches us about life during the nineteenth century with use of two protagonists, and shows a mastery of the writer's art. ...read more.

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