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Comparisons between Charles Dickens's Hard Times and Langston Hughes's Thank You M'am.

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Introduction

I am studying the comparisons between Charles Dickens's Hard Times and Langston Hughes's Thank You M'am. The first of the comparisons is the setting. Hard Times is set in an English Victorian classroom whereas Thank You M'am is set in modern day Harlem, America. At the start of Hard Times we are placed in a classroom. It is described in ways that are significant. "A plain, bare, monotonous vault of a classroom." The word 'vault' makes me feel that it is a jail, the children are trapped and their imagination is being drained out of them. Then, we meet Mr. Gradgrind. He is overpowering, dominant, demanding and is only interested in facts. "Now what I want is facts. Nothing but facts." He is quite old and has spots on his bald head. He thinks himself as ruler of everyone, and when Sissy Jupe says her name is Sissy, he says it isn't a name! "Sissy is not a name," His name also tells us about himself. Mr Gradgrind gives me the impression that he is "Grinding" the children down until they have no imagination. There is a new girl in the class. Her name is Sissy Jupe. She is very shy and quiet, and vulnerable. ...read more.

Middle

She asks him why he did it but he says he didn't mean to. Mrs J takes the boy, Roger, into her flat and gets him fed and cleaned up. While her back is turned Roger has a clear site of the open door ahead of him, but he decides to stay. Mrs J finds out that there is no one at his home, and that Roger tried to steel some money because he wanted some blue suede shoes. She gives him some money and he leaves. Mrs Jones gives Roger a second chance. I think she does this because she is feeling maternal, and maybe she cant have children. At the start of the story I think Roger is a small conniving little weasel. But at the end I think he is quite trustworthy and loyal, because he had the chance to run, but he didn't. One moment when Roger seemed to change was when Mrs J told him to pick up her pocketbook. Roger could have run away, but he didn't. Mrs J put her trust in him. These two pieces of writing have things in common. The first thing is that they both show adults dealing with children. An example is that Mr Gradgrind tells Sissy that her name isn't a real name. ...read more.

Conclusion

Barren means empty, and a long time ago it meant infertile. She also says, "I was young once and I wanted things I could not have." Maybe she can't have children. I think Langston Hughes likes and respects Mrs J. I think this because she first takes Roger inside and then cooks him some food and cleans him up, a bit like a Good Samaritan. I think Hughes is talking to his black audience in this story because he is trying to say that black people don't have to be afraid of anything, and that we should all work together as a community. Mrs Jones and Roger both use black American dialect. I can tell because they use words and phrases like "Ain't you got nobody at home" and "You gonna take me to jail". Charles Dickens's audience was very different. In Victorian times, there was a big gap between the upper class and the working class, for example, there used to be huge games of football played in the streets, but the posh arrogant people wouldn't play. Also, teachers were like machines and pupils were cups, ready to be filled up with facts. But I don't think Dickens wanted us to like Mr G because he was picking on a little innocent girl, and we automatically feel sorry for her. Will Herring 10M ...read more.

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