Hard times shows women as powerless and trapped with in a patriarchate society. How far do you agree with this statement? Discuss at least three female characters. Dickens show women as repressed and powerless, especially through their dependence on men, we see this especially in the character Louisa. On the other hand, Dickens portrays women as havin power within their emotions, such as emphasis and perception, as we see in Sissy. Although women arnt shown to have power, and shown to have power.
The women in “Hard Times” are shown to have no power. Louisa is forced into marrying Mr Bounderby because he is rich and the main thing is POWER. Dickens shows her reaction: “She closed her hand as if upon a solid object and slowly opened it as if realising dust or ash”. The use of “dust or ash” compares to her life as they are both seen as worthless. “Realising” compares her being released to Bounderby because she has no say in what she wants to do.
To summarise this quote she is trying to stay away from Bounderby: “She closed her hand” this shows she’s trying to be realised to him. It could also show that she is refusing to take Bounderby’s hand in marriage but in the end “realising” shows she has given up and can’t handle the pressure given to her feel Dickens has presented women as powerless figures rather then having power, this may be because they are effected by the masculine ruled society at the time which “Hard Times” was wrote.
Throughout this novel Dickens shows repression to women, Sissy is trying not to be repressed by Mr Gradgrind however, Sissy is such a strong character Gradgrind tries and tries and tries to do this but Sissy is to Natural and she stand her ground to Mr Gradgrind “Sissy not Cecile” she does this to show he can’t do the same to her as he has done to the other girls. Sissy pays no interest to Gradgrind with the comments he makes, and he tries to make a mockery of Sissy: “Unable to define a horse!” Gradgrind trys to show Sissy as a failure and he humiliates her but Sissy has her own kind of power and uses this to take no attention to Mr Gradgrind.
In “Hard Times” women may have not a lot of power but they are shown to have power of emotion. In this book the character Mr Gradgrind is a mean and dull human being; he has no personality, he sees the girls as objects that he wants to put facts into and get them to learn facts, nothing else just facts. We know that women have the power of emotion because Louisa has an imagination and she can create something from as little as nothing: “There seems to be nothing there accept languid, monotonous and smoke, yet when the night comes, fire burst out father” this shows that Louisa is free from her fathers lessons and her imagination can run wild. “Nothing” shows that’s she has no life and its dull and boring for her, furthermore it shows that she is drilled with facts and she’s lost her soul as there is nothing there.
“Fire bursts out” could mean that she is bubbling inside and she’s so angry and bitter that her father doesn’t let her have much as a childhood that’s she just wants to burst out like a fire does. We can suggest that Mr Gradgrind had no childhood himself or he had no father figure for him, “Really my dear” he is trying to comfort her here, however it isn’t really working and it’s pushing Louisa further away from him. Louisa tries to keep the faith and hope that her father will change his ways and become a dad, however it appears after a while she runs out of hope: “In exactly the same voice as before”. “Same” could also suggest that it is compared to her father because he doesn’t change and it’s the same all the way through that he wants facts.
During this book, Mrs Sparsit is a fan of Mr Bounderby however everything doesn’t go her way when she hears about Bounderby and Louisa possibly getting married. However Louisa doesn’t like Bounderby she likes James Harthouse. Mrs Sparsit notices that Louisa and James are happy together and this is her chance of being with Bounderby if she proves she’s cheating. Mrs Sparsit’s plan is to crush Louisa and get Bounderby’s soul.
Mrs Sparsit sees Bounderby has a conqueror: “If Bounderby had been a conqueror” this shows that she is defending Bounderby because Bounderby doesn’t think Mrs Sparsit as a person he sees her as a “Captive Princess”. “Captive” could suggest that he wants Mrs Sparsit as a feature to make him look good as she is from a rich family. It is like having a “Rolex Watch” because it gives him status and makes him look good. This shows the power of attraction because Louisa has the power to attract James Harthouse and Mrs Sparsit has the power of attraction and the power of perception, we know this because she attracts Bounderby through her rich name and possibly her looks. She has the power of perception because she trying to perceive the dream to get Bounderby.
Hard times shows women as powerless and trapped with in a patriarchate society. How far do you agree with this statement? I would agree with this statement a lot, because men do have mostly power. However women have power in a different way, they have the power of purity, the power of perception and the power of attraction. Although they both have power in both different ways, men are the most powerful because it is all about money, status and education and men have all of these, and they also aren’t treated like objects as the women are.