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In ‘Hard Times’ Dickens presents various characters reactions to members of different social groups - How do you respond to his presentation?

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Introduction

In 'Hard Times' Dickens presents various characters reactions to members of different social groups. How do you respond to his presentation? There are many different social groups within 'Hard Times', which Dickens presents various interpretations to the interaction of. There are the working class people known as 'The Hands' and the circus people both which Dickens seems to favour. Also, there are the factual, middle class people, the bosses and also the upper class all of which Dickens satirizes in one way or another. Dickens' favouritism for the circus people comes across when they meet Gradgrind and Bounderby as he describes them as having a "remarkable gentleness and childishness" about them. This clash brings about the contrasts between fact and fancy and highlights Bounderby's lack of compassion for this particular social class since he is very rude and inconsiderate when he tells Sissy of her father's departure. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore in order to get workers the employers needed to create housing for them so they built cramped insanitary houses for them on narrow streets. This created the industrial society or 'working class' and formed a social division from the upper and middle classes who were their superiors. Many workers were exploited and worked in dangerous conditions, as did Stephen Blackpool. Furthermore Bounderby shows no remorse for the conditions his workers have to deal with and is sarcastic towards them when he tells Stephen not to expect a "coach and six." In comparison to Bounderby Stephen is much more polite and well mannered whereas Bounderby is inexcusably rude which shows the social difference between the two. Dickens' presentation of Stephen Blackpool shows his criticism of the unjust social system and invites our anger towards Bounderby. Dickens' views appear strongly in Sissy's meeting with James Harthouse as it insinuates a battle between the upper and lower classes. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Gradgrind asks him, "have you a heart," he answers with the logical and factual answer Gradgrind taught him. This shows a dramatic change in Gradgrinds thinking as he begins to show his emotions, he has finally learnt the wisdom of the heart. Bitzer also allows Gradgrind to see the extent of the damage of his system. This makes us feel remorse for Bitzer in the sense that he can't change now and will go on thinking in the way that he has been taught to think and not know any better. Dickens' presentation of the various characters reactions to different social groups almost controls our responses towards them. We are more aware of the prejudice in Victorian society and he influences us to favour the lower class society because of their hardships. The confrontation and interaction of the different social groups creates excitement and also enables us to see that the core of social injustice is due to money and fact. ...read more.

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