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Compare and Contrast the role of Character and Characterization in the novels 'Hard Times' and 'Love on the Dole'.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the role of Character and Characterization in the novels 'Hard Times' and 'Love on the Dole' The novels, 'Hard Times' and 'Love on the Dole,' are built around a symbolic character foundation and both authors' use and portrayal of character is, therefore, an integral part to an understanding of both novels. 'Hard Times' and 'Love on the Dole' are both examples of the nation and how it was being affected by various changes at the time. Consequently, character forms the basis intended to provide a clear picture of society. However, it is the way that the authors' present these characters, in order to demonstrate the sullen socialism and utilitarian attitudes in 'Hard Times' or the exploitation of the economic system in 'Love on the Dole.' The way Dickens presents character in 'Hard Times' is a fundamental aspect in dealing with the major concerns of the novel. Dickens has a surprisingly complex character foundation; he deliberately presents both the simplistic characteristics of a character developed for symbolic purposes, as well as the intricate qualities of real people. Dickens gives us a close-up look into what appears to be the ivory tower of the bourgeoisie of his day. ...read more.

Middle

isolated theme that comes up in 'Love on the Dole' as no one seems to understand Larry, though what Larry has to say in the novel offers the reader an understanding of the back-drop of the 1930s, "He was so different from others." 'Love on the Dole,' in particular, presents characters being alienated from their environment. Both novels alienate their main characters from their environment, but use different narrative styles to depict this. Greenwood isolates Harry from the pawnshop, "memories of dreary mornings and the interminable evenings when his friends were free as birds whilst he was chained to the desk..." showing Harry's inner thoughts of his environment, whilst Dickens isolates the character of Stephen as a bleak contrast; a victim of social class, evoking empathy, allowing the reader to understand his isolation. It interesting that both writers alienate their key characters from their environment, an environment that the characters are both used to, allowing for a change in setting; in both novels it is principal in social and historical factors, depicting the mood of the environment the novels take place in and how it relates to the story being told. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 'Hard Times,' much of the writing about the social problems of the time came not from fictional sources but the "blue books" of Mr Gradgrind in 'Hard Times.' They are suggestive of the Victorian obsession with classification, which is particularly satirised in the novel. Criticisms all reflect on the Victorian hypocrisy that surrounded life. Dickens condemns the harshness on disadvantaged children and the general Victorian attitude to the poor. Dickens uses his style of wit, irony, and satire combined with powerful images to make the characters and the surroundings come to life. He uses the way they act around each other as part of their discrediting and makes characters more attractive to the audience so that his Victorian readers would notice the error in their ways and bring about the end of these hard times. However, 'Love on the Dole,' the only two characters who manage to escape from the stifling, oppressive world of Hanky Park are Larry through death, and Sally through prostitution. The perspective is the same as that of the liberal social novel so common in the nineteenth century. However, Greenwood appears subconsciously to transfer blame to the working class themselves, who are presented as being too stupid to bring about change, or to listen to Larry's message that socialism is the answer. ...read more.

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