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Select 2 or 3 episodes involving the circus, and show by what means Dickens uses them to develop a contrast between opposing values in Hard Times.

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Introduction

Select 2 or 3 episodes involving the circus, and show by what means Dickens uses them to develop a contrast between opposing values in Hard Times. The first incident that involves the circus and circus people that I would like to talk about, and that clearly demonstrates the contrast between opposing values is on page 34 onwards. Mr Gradgrind, the absolute pinnacle of fact in the book, goes to visit the Circus people to tell them that the fanciful Sissy Jupe can no longer attend the school. I have chosen this incident as it involves more of the circus characters than really at any other time, secondly the description of the circus shows just how far from the world and values of fact it is. The circus is the best symbol for representing the alternative to all that is fact in the book; the circus is seen as a world of mystery and wonder almost of magic and idea that completely goes against the idea of facts. ...read more.

Middle

just "plain hard facts" Sleary in this chapter is the real philosopher on the ideas of fancy he even says it "...I lay down the philothophy of the thubject when thay to you, Thquire, make the betht of uth: not the wurtht!" This chapter clearly show the contrast between opposing views and values in Hard Times, the circus shows a whole new world but is representative of a whole new set of values the ideas of fancy are represented in the themes and scenes with the circus. The thing is with the circus is that it has almost dreamlike status things happen there that cannot happen anywhere else and it appears to be an almost illusion, for example "The father of one of the families was in the habit of balancing the father of another of the families on top of a great pole." These are the things that you would only expect to see in dreams and so therefore it is fanciful, a complete contrast to the ideas of fact displayed throughout the rest of Hard Times. ...read more.

Conclusion

apparently to dream or to be imaginative is lazy in Gradgrind's books. Which is why the factual way in which Gradgrind has based his life upon is so offended by the ideas of fancy as he doesn't like the thought of being considered as being not lazy but that there can be other ways to work hard in life. Gradgrind is so full of the idea that facts are right, that he even questions and believes that with all these thoughts at the disposal they could make the wrong decision, when surely it isn't a case of right and wrong? Just opposing views and they do oppose each other! Gradgrind does say though "Thomas though I have the facts before me I find it difficult to believe that you with your education and resources should have brought your sister to a scene like this." This makes it seem as though education is supposed to kill the imagination, which clearly conflicts with the views of the circus, which believe that you should work hard and perform in life, but never let the dreams die. ...read more.

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