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Hard Times - explore several issues from Dickenss point of view on Victorian Society, including education, marriage, industrialisation, the relationship between the middle class and the working class, and how Dickens uses different methods and techniqu

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Introduction

Hard Times In the novel Hard Times, Dickens reveals the Victorian Society as apathetic, harsh and depressing. Both the environment and characters are shown to be dark, dull and drab. Dickens uses a variety of techniques to show these. I am going to explore several issues from Dickens's point of view on Victorian Society, including education, marriage, industrialisation, the relationship between the middle class and the working class, and how Dickens uses different methods and techniques to present all these. I will refer to chapters one, two, five, eleven and fifteen while discussing all these different aspects. In chapter 2, Murdering the Innocents, the title immediately tells us that someone is going to react in a certain attitude towards someone else. This is an effective way to start the chapter as it gives a hint to the reader about what will happen in the chapter. Dickens is basically trying to show us as the reader how boring and demanding life was at school in Victorian Society in this chapter. He uses phrases like "Girl number twenty unable to define a horse!" and "Bitzer, your definition of a horse" to show how the pupils were being treated by Mr Gradgrind. Mr Gradgrind is described as "dictatorial" and "square" which means that he is a tyrannical person and he likes to order people to do things for him because he thinks he has more power than other people. A good example of this is when Mr Gradgrind talks to Sissy Jupe. He asks her for her name and when she replies, he immediately changes her name for her "don't call yourself Sissy, call yourself Cecilia." This shows exactly how strict and harsh time was for the pupils. Dickens has chosen the characters very carefully in this novel like the name "Mr Gradgrind" it basically means he grinds on and on and on about things just like the way he teaches his students. ...read more.

Middle

This chapter reveals that Mr Bounderby is a very law abiding citizen and that he won't go out of his way to help other people. Another interesting point that Dickens suggests about marriage is when Mr Gradgrind talks to Louisa about the marriage proposal. When she hears the news from Gradgrind, she had no emotion at all, "she never said a word" and "without any visible emotion." This suggests that she doesn't care who she gets married to even to the person she hates the most, a good example of this is when Mr Bounderby kisses Louisa on the cheek (Chp 4) and when he left, she immediately rubbed her cheeks furiously, "you may cut the piece out with your penknife and I wouldn't cry!" In this marriage proposal situation, Dickens makes it look more like a contract in Gradgrind's mind rather than a real marriage because the proposal was offered directly to Gradgrind instead of Louisa herself. Dickens is suggesting that the marriage proposal wasn't really about love but more like a question and an answer, "the question I have to ask myself is, shall I marry him? That is so, is it not?" Dickens is basically showing that he doesn't agree with marriage at all in the Victorians Times because once people got married, they could not be allowed to get divorced regardless of happiness, family problems or even money etc... Dickens doesn't agree with many aspects of Industrialisation at all. He uses many examples to show how Industrialisation affects both the people and the environment. He uses techniques like Imagery and Phonic Pattering to create an impression of the environment and Coketown itself. Firstly in Chapter 11, Dickens uses words like "crashing, smashing and tearing of mechanism" these words really tells the reader what the industry is like because it creates noises in the readers minds (noise of metals being cut into pieces and the machines roaring) ...read more.

Conclusion

This reveals that Bounderby likes to control people around and he doesn't like the people obeying his orders. A big difference between the working class and the middle class is the way they talk and treated, example, Stephen Blackpool in the working class doesn't speak properly because there are a lot of contractions in his speech, "I ha' gone t' th' brigg" whereas Gradgrind and Bounderby in the middle class speak very clearly and understandable. Another example of this is when Bounderby talks to Mr Childers in the circus, the people in the circus all have funny names and strange words and Bounderby didn't understand any of it, "nine oils, merrylegs, missing tips, garters, banners and ponging, eh??" He then takes a great and evil laugh at them because he thinks they are fools and they use words that means nothing to him, "with his laugh of laughs, queer sort of company." He shows no respect to them at all and this is how Bounderby treats the working class. Dickens uses all these points to show that he is totally against the way the middle class treats the working class all just because they have less power and less wealth. Overall, Dickens reveals that Victorian Society was a very harsh, unfair and depressing society. He shows he absolutely hated the way the education system was set up because it almost destroyed the innocent lives of the students and all their excitement. Dickens also shows that he totally disagrees with the way the middle class treats the working class and he believes that the middle class were selfish and arrogant whereas the working class lived horrible and unfair lives. Dickens hated the entire industry in Victorian Times because it was filled with pollution and workers lives were downtrodden because they had to work in blackened factories and towns. Dickens also shows that he didn't like the laws of marriage because people were suffering from it and they couldn't get divorced because of the laws. Dickens hated all of these aspects and therefore he created the novel "Hard Times" to go against it all. ...read more.

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