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

Imagery in Hard Times

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Choose two scenes from Hard Times and examine Charles Dickens' use of imagery in establishing characterisation Dickens uses both descriptive and symbolic imagery when he tries to put something into character. Dickens knows that the use of characters and places is very powerful in bringing out the major themes of the book, and so the characters and the themes are intricately intertwined with each other. In the beginning of chapter four of book one, called "The Key-Note," Dickens uses vast amounts of imagery to establish the character of Coketown. "It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage." His descriptive imagery of the smoke and ashes give you the feeling of a very begrimed and caliginous place where maybe even breathing and seeing become harder. His symbolic imagery compares Coketown with the painted face of a savage, both unnatural and heartless. "It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys...and never got uncoiled." Dickens continues with a theme of unnaturalness, as machinery and tall chimneys are far from being natural objects. When he speaks of interminable serpents, he symbolises the smoke as serpents, evil and malicious creatures. ...read more.

Middle

"You saw nothing in Coketown but what was severely workful...for anything that appeared to the contrary in the graces of their construction." Dickens tells us that any religious building can be easily be mistaken for a factory, and that a church is just another warehouse but with a religious value. A church is a building that is meant to be one of supreme grace and beauty, yet in Coketown, the churches are simply another red brick building. Dickens mentions the exception, the New Church, which he describes to be very beautiful, complete with stuccowork and excessively decorative pinnacles, and this could be to symbolise some unique and exceptional characters in Coketown, that are tired of being part of the system of fact. Dickens goes on to echo the lack of uniqueness in the buildings, as you could mistake the infirmary for the jail. This deficiency of some uniqueness is a lack of imagination, and as we know, imagination is practically illegal in Coketown. "Fact, fact, fact, everywhere in the material aspect of the town...world without end, Amen." The rule by which Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. Bounderby live by is the way in which the town has been designed and created. It is as if Coketown was actually created by Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. Bounderby. The plenitude of fact in the town symbolises its hard-edged environment, and being a fact-bound environment, and insufficient amount of fancy and imagination, it is once more unnatural and manufactured like a machine. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Chiefly noticeable for a slender body, weakly supported on two long slim props, and surmounted by no head worth mentioning." Her 'grotesque' figure is similar to that of the young Mrs Sparsit when she had just come of age. Dickens describes Mrs Sparsit to have looked like a very lanky young lady, almost malnourished. He also makes her face appear to have been quite ugly, and all in all, makes her to have looked like a very scrawny person. Dickens' imagery of Mrs Sparsit gives a feeling of her being proud, and of her being a 'snooper' - someone who meddles into other peoples' affairs. Dickens makes Mrs Sparsit one of the ugly creatures, both in her appearance and her intensions. Sparsit is a key character in creating another major theme in the novel: 'Officiousness, Spying and Knowledge.' She also plays a large part in revealing the theme of 'Unnaturalness.' The author, in some ways, makes Mrs Sparsit a 'goodie two shoes' to Mr Bounderby, as if she were some kind of servile mistress of Bounderby's; soothing his pain, calming his anger, obeying his commands. Dickens gives Mrs Sparsit a much exaggerated personality, like a caricature, and he makes her some kind of bird of prey; with a beak, symbolising her Roman nose, flying high in the social scale above the Hands of Coketown, along with the other 'well-connected' people, from a position whence she can spy on everyone and everything that goes on. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. What impression does Dickens give us of Coketown and its people in Hard Times?

    rattling and trembling all day long'. The amount of disturbance in the industrial town gives the impression that it is an extremely unpleasant place to live. Dickens purposefully creates a great contrast between the untameable nature of the wild and noisy Coketown to exaggerate the fact that Coketown is not a classic, rural English town.

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

    Dickens was not in favour of the trade unions. Slackbridge is in charge of the trade union in the novel. His description is not favourable; and this is reinforced by the way he treats Stephen Blackpool. As a result of his treatment, Stephen fell 'into the loneliest of lives, the life of solitude among a familiar crowd'.

  1. Childhood is an integral theme in both Hard Times and God of Small Things

    Dickens does not go into such imaginative imagery, preferring the harsh scientific approach of the adult characters he creates. The stereotypical image held by youngsters of their elders as fun-hating, rule enforcing ogres is perfectly presented in many places in Hard Times with the most obvious example being the children's own father.

  2. What techniques does Dickens employ in his depiction of Mrs Sparsit and what is ...

    The reader first sees Mrs Sparsit's underlying contempt for Louisa when she says to Bounderby that he is "quite another father" to the "little puss". Soon enough Mrs Sparsit's fears become a reality as Bounderby and Louisa get engaged and she is asked to move out.

  1. Explore the presentation of Mrs Sparsit both here and elsewhere in the novel 'Hard ...

    Due to all the debts that she was left with Mrs Sparsit is financially dependent on Bounderby, and in her opinion she is his number one woman because she does all the womanly duties around the house.

  2. Discuss the theme of education in ‘Hard Times’ and a ‘Kestrel for a Knave’.

    Thomas Gradgrind, now realising his mistakes, and therefore the flawed concept of utilitarianism, tries to persuade his former pupil and close work associate to show some compassion for him and his family, and let Tom be. In talking about himself: "And crushing his miserable father?"

  1. In what ways does Dickens use place in his novel 'Hard times'?

    Children born into this society would have little change to improve their lot in life. The small amount of education they were given was solely based on fact. They were taught lists of facts, they had no sense of imagination.

  2. Look carefully at the first four chapters of "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens and ...

    'Girl number twenty,' said Mr. Gradgrind, squarely pointing with his square forefinger, 'I don't know that girl. Who is that girl?' 'Sissy Jupe, sir,' explained number twenty, blushing, standing up, and curtseying. 'Sissy is not a name,' said Mr. Gradgrind.

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