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Stephen Blackpool: The Pathetic Figure.

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Apiwan Kiewchawum 4406611105 LT. 356 Stephen Blackpool: The Pathetic Figure Charles Dickens's Hard Times is one of the most important novels in the Victorian Age. He presents an industrial society in nineteenth century in England. In this age, England prospers in manufacture and trade because of high technologies. It is also a time of trouble. Industrial development causes terrible conditions of a working class. The workers are poor and work hard. Women and children work for many hours. Dickens also presents bad social condition through his work and also shows lives of city people and industrial society in Coketown in England. In Hard times, Dickens has a compassion for the workers and calls for the readers' sympathy by showing the workers' hardships through Stephen Blackpool, a worker who is honest, innocent, generous and full of integrity. However, facing dead-end situations, Stephen Blackpool is the most pathetic figure. Stephen Blackpool is the most suffered and submissive worker. Although he is good, skilful and diligent power-loom weaver, his life is not much improved, but he has to work for survival. Dickens presents that most of Coketown citizens are workers. He says that they are " generically called ' the Hands'- a race who would have found more favor with some people, if the Providence had seen fit to make them only hands, or, like the lower creatures of the seashore, only hands and stomachs- lived a certain Stephen Blackpool, for forty years of age." Dickens comments on the terrible lives of workers. The word " generically" presents that the workers can't rise in the world because they have no education and have not enough money to make their lives better and comfortable. Their children must face the hardship such as working hard and living in poverty like their ancestors who are workers. They must be the workers forever. That Dickens compares them with the lower creature of the seashore, only, hand and stomach means the important of workers' organs that are used to work hard to survival. ...read more.


He fails in his struggle for survival in a materialistic and unfair society. In materialistic world, money is the most important thing that is used to rise in the world. The world is injustice because the rich people have more chance than the poor people do. Every activity in daily life requires money, so the poor can't survive in the materialistic world. Living in poverty, the workers must stay in the lower class forever and have no chance to rise to a higher status. They also face the hardship in their lives especially when they are sick and have trouble because of the low salary, terrible welfare and working condition Having not enough money, Stephen can't divorce his wife because of high expense in lawsuit. He must suffer with his unhappy marriage to his alcoholic wife. He wants to marry Rachael, his lover. The characters of his wife and Rachael differ very much. His wife is helpless, drunken, doesn't work, sells the furniture, pawns the clothes and plays old Gooseberry. He knows that his wife doesn't make a home perfect. Home must be consisted of love and understanding that his wife can't give. She increases his burden, so he doesn't want to come back to his house. He walks along the streets night long before he goes back to his house. His suffering is shown in the phrases that present his hardship and pressure like " a dread that always haunted his desolate home..., and the grayer hair upon his head." His grayer hair shows his suffering in his life. On the contrary, Rachael is diligent, generous and kind. She is compared with light, angel and shining star because she gives Stephen advice, consolation, love and compassion that decrease his trouble. Her characters are pleasant, gentle, compassionate, honest, sensitive and generous. For example, she has " a quiet oval face, dark and rather delicate, irradiated by a pair of very gentle eyes and further set off by the perfect order of shining black hair." ...read more.


Stephen knows that Mr. Gradgrind, the scholar, will feel ashamed. Although he must dies, he is still concerned about the consequence that will happen to Tom's life. Finally, he dies, and Tom goes to live with Mr. Slearly. At last, Tom can go safely away from England. In the end of the story, Mr. Gradgrind publishes broadsides in the street that are signed with his name and that exonerate Stephen Blackpool from misplaced suspicion and publishes the guilt of his own son. In conclusion, from Stephen Blackpool's life, we can see his misery and hardship that he has to face. He is the most pathetic figure. Although he is honest, diligent, generous and good man, he can't survive in the unfair and harsh world. He also a representative of the workers' problems that workers have no choice to rise in the higher status because they are poor and lack education and because the rich people oppress them and treat them like a machine that has no heart. The rich people ignore the workers' problems. The capitalists are selfish and self-centered. Stephen Blackpool's miserable life shows that Dickens doesn't ignore the lower class's problems but asks for solution to improve the workers' lives because this is an important problem. The setting increases the compassion for Stephen. It is dark and silent. Everybody mourns for him, and the darkness symbolizes sorrow and death. This picture also shows Rachael's love for Stephen. She kneels on the grass, clasp his hand and tries to comfort although he hurts badly and is going to die. This picture shows the relationship between Stephen Blackpool, his wife and Rachael. Stephen and Rachael love each other, but he can't divorce his wife because of the high expense in lawsuit that he can't afford. Rachael is good and generous woman who takes care of Stephen's wife. She is like an angel, light and shining star. On the contrary, his wife is helpless and alcoholic. She increases Stephen's burden and tries to commit suicide, but Rachael can save her life. 1 ...read more.

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