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Compare the way Dickens presents Mr Gradgrind and the circus people in Hard Times

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Introduction

GCSE English Coursework Compare the way Dickens presents Mr Gradgrind and the circus people in Hard Times Hard Times written by Charles Dickens in 1848, is often thought to be his most political novel he ever wrote. Hard Times may have been his shortest piece of work, but it was definitely his hardest hitting novel as it gives his views on Utilitarianism which defined Victorian Society, many suffered from in the Victorian Times. The book is set in the Victorian Times which gives Dickens the chance to express his feelings he has towards life in the Victorian Times and how society is. The book along with other novels by Dickens is set over a long period of time. Dickens feels people should rid themselves of the habit of running their factory like lives as a machine being greedy and dull and put an end to their compassion for facts. Dickens uses Thomas Gradgrind in the book to show how he believes a typical person from the Victorian Times is presented. He shows him as having a very square appearance making him boring, the same as everyone else in those times as they all have a compassion for facts. Dickens believes everyone should stop expressing their need for facts and their greed, and spend more of their time carrying out leisurable activities. ...read more.

Middle

With Dickens throughout the play mocking Gradgrind and saying how his wife seems dead, also talking about how his home seems bland and boring. Also with him disliking imagination people will think there's something wrong with him. Gradgrind is in the play for Dickens to express his views on society, but his role is Master of the Gradgrind House. At the school, which he set up and sponsors, he has a very strict policy and only believes in teaching facts to the children. Gradgrind effects his son Tom as he turns into a ruthless, single-minded wicked person turned bank robber who doesn't think of anyone else proved when he sets up Stephen Blackpool and befriends Harthouse. With Tom is a symbol of what can go wrong All this is hard to believe; he has grown into a person who is more evil than Bounderby, but yet in his infancy he was brought up strictly under the eye of Gradgrind. He has affected Louisa as she is miserable and doesn't know how to have fun as a result of her upbringing from her father. I think the circus are included in the play just to account for the small number of people who are like them and who haven't had their imagination and life taken over by facts. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gradgrind changes for the better after he had eventually seen what he was doing was wrong, he changed by relaxing after Sissy came face to face with him and revealed the flaws of his system and how he mechanically teaches them like a factory. As well as relaxing more he turns to a more scintillating, sensitive man and caring more about his children, "that if you had by any chance undeceived me some time ago it would have been better for both of us". I believe the circus people represent the victims of stereotyping and Dickens is using them as an example to show them how they can be so warm, colourful and all the qualities the circus folk have. Then Gradgrind and Bounderby represent people who have taken a liking to the sudden infiltration of facts and promoted it, but in Gradgrind's case to extent, this is Dickens using him to show how bad it was. With Gradgrind changing at the end due to Sissy's exposure to him it showed a chance that someday life would not be taken over by facts and Utilitarianism may calm down. I think that good triumphs at the end and is responsible for the change. But I think as everyone else is obsessed with facts the circus is just one of few people eligible in contention to be able to do what they do. ...read more.

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