• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Hard Times - Would you agree, from your reading of the novel so far thatthere are some characters who are simply too good to be true?

Extracts from this document...


Would you Agree, From your Reading of the Novel So Far that There are Some Characters Who are Simply Too Good to be True? There are a huge variety of characters in Hard Times, ranging from the good to the unnaturally cruel. The novel is full of extremity in its characterisation; cruel, bitter and selfish characters such as Mrs. Sparsit contrast dramatically with characters such as Stephen Blackpool and Rachael, who are benevolent and altruistic. Among the cruellest and most villainous characters in the novel is James Harthouse, who is completely ammoral, and therefore rendered very dangerous by Dickens. Josiah Bounderby, is another particularly cruel character. He is utterly self-centred and prejudiced against the working-class of the novel (he categorizes them all as being greedy and materialistic: "You [Stephen] don't expect to be set up in a coach and six, and to be fed on turtle soup and venison, with a gold spoon as a good many of 'em do!") Bounderby is almost a caricature and is satirised by Dickens for his constant emphasizing of his climb to success, after supposedly beginning his life in a ditch. ...read more.


In a way, Stephen's kindness is partly to blame for his unhappiness. It could be argued that he hasn't fought hard enough for the things he wants; for example, he is not actually a member of the worker's union. Stephen has a tendency to seem meek and quite passive. He seems gentle but is often depicted with too much sentimentality. It is almost frustrating the way that Stephen simply accepts that he cannot be with Rachael, and must remain in a loveless marriage, when it is clear that he is unhappy (though of course, moral conventions differed in Victorian times, meaning people had a different view of marriage and its connotations). Stephen's unhappiness is reflected in his sometimes confused tone; "'Tis a muddle, and that's aw", and his angst often manifests itself physically in his strange mannerisms; "..he was biting the long ends of his loose neckerchief as he walked along". His confusion is also obvious in the sequence describing his strange dream, in which Coketown is a representation of hell. ...read more.


It is sadly ironic in the way that the two people who are truly in love are prevented from being together by the rules of the social system, while Louisa, who is clearly reluctant, has been forced into a marriage by the expectations of the same society. Some characters in the novel are often sentimentalized and therefore sometimes do not seem believable. However, the novel is ultimately a satirical one, which is meant to make a point, and it is perhaps therefore more fitting that the 'good' characters are slightly exaggerated, in order to emphasize the dishonourable characteristics of people such as Harthouse. They are a kind of rebellion against the monotony of the utilitarian system, and Dickens uses them as an example. He uses Stephen in particular to promote character and integrity over learning. The good characters are not necessarily meant to be a naturalistic rendition of human personalities, but are instead use to provide the novel with interest in the form of contrasting attitudes and beliefs. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hard Times section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Hard Times essays

  1. Compare and Contrast Dickens's picture of Coketown with Lodge's introduction to the industrial environment ...

    This will be considered more constructively further on. It is clear that both texts are using a highly narrative style. However they differ in their approach used to attain their descriptive element. Much of the various language techniques employed have been utilised to accommodate for the writer's mode.

  2. Compare and Contrast the role of Character and Characterization in the novels 'Hard Times' ...

    by his frequent boasts like "we used to live in an egg box." The reader can imagine a business acquaintance and "close-bosom friend" with a bloated appearance. Bounderby is the "bully of humility" and forces people to like and admire him because of his humble background.

  1. Hard times shows women as powerless and trapped with in a patriarchate society. How ...

    We can suggest that Mr Gradgrind had no childhood himself or he had no father figure for him, "Really my dear" he is trying to comfort her here, however it isn't really working and it's pushing Louisa further away from him.

  2. Character Study of Stephen Blackpool From the Novel Hard Times.

    Nevertheless the latter statement can only be restricted to financial help and not all kinds of aid. This is because, before Louisa and Tom leave Tom Pulls Stephen urgently out of the room and says that he might be able to do him a favor and Stephen is ready to take the assistance in this matter.

  1. Compare and contrast the way in which particular aspects of education are presented in ...

    Dickens said of his eyes, "To have found commodious cellarage in two dark caves, overshadowed..." This states that Gradgrind's eyes, (eyes often being thought of as a true character display), show no sign of life or liveliness, the fact that the eyes, representing life and imagination, are overshadowed by the

  2. 'What are the reasons which Dickens gives for the hard times described in the ...

    In contrast to Gradgrind, Sissy and the circus people represent imagination and fantasy. They are all disregarded at the start but they gain respect as the novel progresses, as people start to realise that they have something valuable to offer.

  1. Hard Times: Stephen Blackpool has been described by Dickens as "A man of great ...

    honesty so is what Dickens is calling Stephen is he is a man with perfect truth or honesty in his heart . Stephen has a friend called Rachel she is what keeps him together consider her as a ray of light in to him through the pitch black thick dull

  2. Hard Times - explore several issues from Dickenss point of view on Victorian Society, ...

    Here Dickens is trying to show us how the students are being taught and trained by Mr Gradgrind. They are all brought up with facts, facts and facts and they eventually become "not impulsive" and with no imagination at all.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work