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Hard times: how does Dickens use the first four chapters of "Hard Times" to introduce the themes of the novel by Charles Dickens.

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Introduction

Hard times: how does Dickens use the first four chapters of "Hard Times" to introduce the themes of the novel by Charles Dickens Pre 1914 novel Gcse English coursework Kings Norton Boy's school Ben Gibb Dickens wrote "Hard Times" in instalments in 1854. He had visited Manchester and seen the conditions of the factory workers there and he used this and his own experiences as a child to contribute to some of the ideas in the novel. He hated the theories of utilanaism, which were becoming popular. He disliked the emphasis of fact and believed that imagination and emotion were necessary for human development and he included these in "Hard times" In the opening Chapter Dickens introduces the theme of the philosophy of fact through Mr Gradgrinds character. When Dickens is describing Gradgrind he is linking him with a mathematical figure. The word "square" is used to emphasise this, word suits Gradgrind because he is only interested in mathematical facts and statistics. Dickens uses repetition to convey the importance of the word fact. Gradgrind uses the word constantly: "Now what I want is facts, teach these boys and girls nothing but fact" Dickens' descriptive language gives us a clearer image of Gradgrind: ...read more.

Middle

Tom gets into debt and robs a bank and Louisa marries a dreadful man who she detests, just to leave her own house to get away from the pressure of facts. Dickens uses contrast between the philosophies of fact with fairy tales and nursery rhymes to highlight the difference between light -hearted fun and dry rotten facts. Dickens uses the symbol of the circus to represent the development of the imagination. He is trying to contrast the idea of utilitarianism with the importance of fantasy and imagination associated with independence and spontaneity. The circus represents a world being able to respond sympathetically to others, this is emphasised by how the circus helps Gradgrind later along in the novel to represent everybody needs a piece of Sleary's circus inside them. Dickens also uses a sarcastic humour to make the idea of Gradgrind thinking he is a good father look ridiculous. Dickens tries to show us that Gradgrind isn't a bad father, he just thinks he is doing the best to give his children a good future, but what makes it so ridiculous is how wrong he is and that he cant see it right in front of his eyes. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Mr Blackpool comes to Bounderby to ask advice concerning his wife he basically tells him to get lost because a poor person doesn't have any rights and laws don't apply to them, after Bounderby fires him and he ends up being an unemployed accused thief. We find out further into the novel that Mr Bounderby is a fraud, he wasn't abandoned by his parents or growing up in poverty it was all a lie just an act, to fool people into believing he had built him self up, so the poor have no excuse. The circus played a big role on the novel throughout. Gradgrind despised even thinking of the circus it was against his fact religion, to him it was a waste of educational time, but the circus ended up helping his son get away from Coketown, which basically tells the reader everyone needs a piece of the circus. Sissy Jupe is unlike the other characters in almost every possible way; she is a symbol of "fancy" and "imagination". Sissy Jupe acted as a piece missing in the Gradgrinds hearts, and when she came along she filled it and gave them a different view of the world, she was the person who did the most for the Gradgrinds. Name: Ben Gibb ...read more.

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