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Does Charles Dickens Show Affection To The Working Classes Of Victorian England In Hard Times?

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Introduction

Does Charles Dickens Show Affection To The Working Classes Of Victorian England In Hard Times? Charles Dickens is what we would all think of as the classic writer of Victorian England, and he is leading some people to refer to Victorian England as Dickensian England. In hard times Dickens talks about a northern industrial town called Coketown, although fictional we can work out it is based on the town of Preston which Dickens visited and quickly realised it was a terrible place to be. It is evident as you progress through hard times that the novel is meant to have a meaning, of which there are many, but I wish to focus on how Dickens focuses in on the working classes in the novel and reflects how life is for them. After reading the novel the obvious candidate to support the above statement would be Stephen Blackpool, although there is no clear hero or heroine within the novel, it is plain to see that Blackpool is the closest thing to one. Why? Well Blackpool, on the surface, is the classic perception of a plain normal worker in Victorian England, but as you delve deeper into him you see that he is more than that. First of all look at his name, Blackpool, a city on the east coast of England, it is now a pleasant seaside town by day and labours a vibrant nightlife but at the time of Dickens it was a dreary, dull, smoke stricken town with not much going for it, it was at the heart of the industrial revolution. ...read more.

Middle

A very unusual but rather intellectual thing is how Dickens manages to criticise Mrs Sparsit for looking down on the lower classes but also manages to use her to satirise Bounderby as well. He does this by emphasising Mrs Sparsit's overuse of the word Sir when referring to Bounderby. The thing is Mr Bounderby does not realise that Mrs Sparsit's overuse of the word is a form of mocking him, again showing him to be stupid and that he does not deserve the lifestyle he has and was born into. But once again this is in contrast to how Dickens perceives Blackpool, Dickens uses the quote 'Old Stephen might have passed for a particularly intelligent man in his condition' This is Dickens speaking directly to the reader in which he shows that even though not the most intelligent of men he was still very intelligent considering his background and that if he had the lifestyle Bounderby had it would have been well deserved. If you look at Blackpool he is a man with no education and he is at the bottom of the social hierarchy yet he is shown to be rather intelligent once again this is Dickens showing us the contrast between the two classes. Dickens also criticises Mrs Sparsit, I think that the whole point of her being in the novel is to represent the undeserved and falsely superior aristocracy. Even though she has fallen out of power she still thinks herself better than anybody else, including those richer than herself, such as Mr Bounderby. ...read more.

Conclusion

she is portrayed as a drunken slob who cannot control anything she does, which is evident in every way she is described, but has this got a certain meaning? I think it has, I think this is how Dickens tells us what the upper classes think of the lower classes, I would say that Blackpool's wife is the stereotypical worker from the upper classes point of view, we know this to be very wrong by looking at the likes of Rachael and Blackpool himself, but in a sense it gives us a vague insight into the head of the upper classes and the aristocracy. To conclude I think that Dickens does have affection for the working classes as in this particular novel he seems to, whichever way you look at it, put down the upper classes and the aristocracy and make the lower and working classes seem the better of the two. He shows the working classes to be the backbone of industrial England. When he writes about the two he will always have a character from both sides that contradict each other and surprisingly enough the lower down the social hierarchy the character is the more likely it is to win the comparison. He tells us that the upper classes think too highly of themselves while the working classes do not think enough of themselves. So as a total round up, yes, I do think that Dickens intends to show affection for the working classes of Victorian England. ?? ?? ?? ?? Daniel O'Donnell 10JR 19/10/2009 Charles Dickens: GCSE Coursework ...read more.

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