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In Hard Times, Dickens uses a variety of devices to flesh out the characters he presents in order to make them unforgettable

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Hannah Loeb March 7, 2012 Characterization in Hard Times In Hard Times, Dickens uses a variety of devices to flesh out the characters he presents in order to make them unforgettable and relatable to the reader. The names of the characters in Hard Times invoke a feeling in the reader when they are first introduced that directly relates to the characters actions in the story. Dickens also associates physical characteristics to the characters that separates each individual from the rest. This allows the reader to form an image of the character in their mind and remember each one. Mr. M?Choakumchild is not a main character in the novel but his name is directly related to his character. He is an unlikable teacher at the Mr. Gradgrind?s school and metaphorically ?chokes? the children at the school by not allowing them to fancy and forcing them to focus on fact. ...read more.


The emphasis was helped by the speaker?s mouth, which was wide, thin, and hard set. The emphasis was helped by the speaker?s voice, which was inflexible, dry, and dictatorial. The emphasis was helped by the speaker?s hair, which bristled on the skirts of his bald head, a plantation of firs to keep the wind from its shining surface, all covered with knobs, like the crust of a plum pie, as if the head had scarcely warehouse-room for the hard facts stored inside. The speaker?s obstinate carriage, square coat, square legs, square shoulders, ? nay, his very neckcloth, trained to take him by the throat with an unaccommodating grasp, like a stubborn fact, as it was, ? all helped the emphasis.? This description presents Mr. Gradgrind as a rigid character, which is fitting because of his fixation on facts and method of teaching and raising children, which allows no room for imagination. ...read more.


Mrs. Sparsit?s roman nose is often addressed whenever she is presented in the novel and this helps to remember and distinguish this character. Another example of this is Bitzer and his extremely pale skin. When Bitzer is first brought into the story in Book the First, Chapter 2 he is a student at Mr. Gradgrind?s school and Dickens says, ?His skin was so unwholesomely deficient in the natural tinge, that he looked as though, if he were cut, he would bleed white.? Towards the end of the novel, many years later, when Tom has fled Coketown, Bitzer is brought back into the story to force Tom to stand trial in Book the Third, Chapter 7. Here, Dickens says, ? For there was Bitzer, out of breath, his thin lips parted, his thin nostrils distended, his white eyelashes quivering, his colorless face ore colorless than ever, as if he ran himself into a white heat, when other people ran themselves into a glow. ...read more.

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