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Hard Times - How does Dickens present the character of Harthouse and what is his role in the novel as a whole?

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Introduction

Hard Times How does Dickens present the character of Harthouse and what is his role in the novel as a whole? Dickens presents James Harthouse as a sly, sneaky and cunning character. This is seen throughout the Novel, and by the way in which he is able to get into Louisa's family so easily, by using flattery. For instance, when himself and Bounderby are acquainted for the first time, Harthouse agrees with everything that is said by Bounderby. This is shown when he says 'Mr Bounderby, perfectly right' and when asked to meet Louisa he says 'Mr Bounderby, you anticipate my dearest wishes' From using flattery, Harthouse is invited to a family dinner only after a short period of time, therefore, he is already considered as a family member. ...read more.

Middle

figure, small and slight, but very graceful looked as pretty as it looked misplaced; 'is there nothing that will move that face?' Yes! By Jupiter, there was something, and here it was, in an unexpected shape. Tom appeared. She changed as the door opened, and broke into a beaming smile... 'Ay, ay?' thought the visitor. 'This whelp is the only creature she cares for' Harthouse is a very strange character, as it seems as though he is not motivated by love or passion towards Louisa, but merely attempts to seduce her because he is bored. Because Harthouse sees that Louisa cares a lot for Tom he then goes on to make friends with the "whelp" in order to be seen favorably by Louisa. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although Dickens portrays Harthouse as scheming and sly, he is also portrayed as a gentlemen, and is believed to be one by both Mr Bounderby, 'You're as gentlemen' and Tom, as he appears to look up to him, by the way in which he trusts Harthouse and thinks he is his friend. Harthouse plays several parts in the novel, one of which, is that he brings Louisa and Mr Gradgrind together, because when he tells Louisa he is in love with her and wants to be with her, Louisa flees to her father, Mr Gradgrind in hope of some help. This brings them closer together; because Louisa is not the type of person who would normally go to people for help especially not her father, as she does not like to show her emotions. Bonnie Penston 09/05/2007 ...read more.

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