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When Louisa asks Gradgrind for his advice Gradgrind answers “I would advise you … to consider this question, … simply as one of tangible Fact. ” She decides quite quickly to marry Bounderby but later on in the novel she meets James Harthouse. Dickens portrays Harthouse as untrustworthy as Dickens tells the audience using the narrative voice, through a description of Harthouse that, Harthouse “would put no more faith in anything than Lucifer” She ends up falling in love with Harthouse until Sissy persuades Harthouse to leave before he gets bored with her and dumps her.
Dickens uses a lot of linguistic devices to illustrate the character.
He gives the character names, which would be used in a theatrical play. For example the name “Gradgrind” can be spilt into two, the first part could mean gradually and the second part of the name could mean grinding away. Dickens also does this to Mr “Bounderby”, which describes him as a cad or a bounder. Dickens uses alliteration “would be without you.
” He also uses irony. For example Gradgrind built stone lodge. And “life at Stone Lodge went monotonously round like a piece of machinery. ” This is ironic because Gradgrind is like a piece of machinery with all his facts.
And this is also a simile as well. Another device used is symbolism. For example Dickens uses light and dark as a symbol for good and bad. He also uses humour, for example Bounderby is says that “You may be astonished to hear it, but my mother ran away from me” And “E.
W. B Childers replied … that he was not at all astonished to hear it. ” Even though chapter one is the shortest chapter because it is reflecting facts, as facts are short and sappy, Dickens probably uses more linguistic devices in that chapter than in any other chapter. For instance he uses a metaphor to describe Gradgrind’s character.
The metaphor that he uses is “the speaker’s square wall of a forehead, which had his eyebrows for its base, while his eyes found commodious cellarage in two dark caves”. I have interpreted this to mean that Gradgrind’s head is full of facts, clouding his vision for imagination and love. The extended metaphor that the writer uses is he uses Gradgrind to say “Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. ” Later in the chapter Dickens refers back to the metaphor by describing Gradgrind’s head as “the speaker hair, which bristled on the skirts of his bald head, a plantation of firs”
He starts the novel with direct speech which begins “Now, what I want is, Facts”. Then he describes Gradgrind by using the rule of three. An example of this would be “the speaker’s voice, which was inflexible, dry and dictatorial. ” Another device used is to create the impression that the Gradgrind is obsessed with facts is by keeping the sentences in the speech that Gradgrind does short and snappy to reflect facts an example of this would be “Facts alone are what are wanted in life. ” And the first chapter is only one page long, which is very short so it also reflects the facts.
Dickens gives you speech from Gradgrind and a description of him in the first chapter of the novel, but doesn’t give you that character’s name until chapter two. The writer expresses the word “Facts” in the first paragraph of the novel by using a capital letter with turns the word from a noun into a proper noun. He also uses repetition of the word. Dickens contrasts the factual world with the fanciful world using a range of techniques. For instance Bounderby refers to himself and Gradgrind (the utilitarian’s) as “the kind of people who know the value of time.
” But Bounderby refers to the circus people (the imaginative’s) as “the kind of people who don’t know the value of time. ” Bounderby refers to them as if the circus people aren’t educated enough for him to speak to. This is one explicit way that Dickens contrasts them and is telling the reader that right from the beginning of the conversation they will find it hard to get on with each other as they are from different backgrounds. Bounderby refers to the circus people as a “Queer sort of company. ” And Cupid reacts to that remark by telling him to “let yourself down a bit”.
So then Gradgrind comments that Cupid’s “a very obstructive lad. ” I think that Dickens is trying to get the message across to us that people from two totally different upbringings will be hard for them to communicate with each other in a mature way. Bounderby then gets intolerant because he cannot stand the circus people using slang words any more. I know this as he says “A Cackler” “There we go again! ” Here Dickens implies that it would be very difficult for two people, one from an imaginative upbringing and the other person from a utilitarian upbringing, especially for the utilitarian person, to get along with each other.
Childer’s tells Gradgrind that Sissy’s father has run away and that “she will never believe it of him? ” but Gradgrind replies “why will she never believe it of him? ” To which Childers answers “Because those two were one. ” Dickens tells us that Gradgrind has difficulty understanding why she would be upset and what is meant by “those two were one” as Gradgrind has never experienced true love because love is part of the imaginative world where the heart is also involved as well as the head.
Dickens uses speech and narration to tell us that “these people cared so little for plain fact, … that the men muttered ‘Shame’ and the women ‘Brute'” When Bounderby who was “growing impatient” with Sissy crying, shouted to her that “Your father has absconded – deserted you and you mustn’t expect to see him again as long as you live. ” At the end of the novel the utilitarian education system is shown to be flawed as Tom steals the money and tells his father that “So many people … will be dishonest … How can I help laws?
You have comforted others with such things, father comfort yourself! ” Tom throws back in his fathers face the way he was brought up and not taught wrong from right. Also Gradgrind was brought up on the same education system as his children were. He says can’t you “See how miserable I am” to Bitzer. This shows that the education system is floored, as the head teacher of the school is unhappy. Gradgrind asks Bitzer “Have you a heart? ” To which “Is it accessible … to compassionate influence? ” To which Bitzer replies “It is accessible to reason …
and nothing else. ” This shows the reader that Gradgrind has used too many facts and not enough compassion and love to his children and pupils. Mr Sleary says “People mutht be amuthed. They can’t be alwayth a learning” And in the utilitarian education system the children weren’t amused they were always learning. Here Dickens is telling us that a vagabond like Mr Sleary is quite clever even though he doesn’t know all the facts like Gradgrind does. At the end of the novel Dickens suggests how the main characters portray themselves in years to come.
Dickens then tells us what does happen to them. All the people who where brought up on the utilitarian education system from the start of their lives didn’t live happily ever after or fall in love. Mr Bounderby “was to die of a fit in the Coketown Street. ” This is ironic, as he always lied that he was brought up in the gutter and he died face down in the gutter. Mr Gradgrind “Probably he had that much foreknowledge” that he saw himself “a white haired decrepit man. ” Tom Gradgrind repented his sins and loved his father and sister but it was too late.
As it says in a letter “in a strange hand … he died in a hospital, of fever, … and died in penitence of love of you: his last word being your name’? ” Louisa may have saw “herself again a wife – a mother – lovingly watchful of her children” but “Such a thing was never to be. ” But on the other hand the one person who lived seven years of her live with not much education was “But happy Sissy’s happy children loving her. ” This shows that the utilitarian education system didn’t work for any of the characters
My views of the education system in the 19th century are that the teachers didn’t understand or care how the children learned more effectively, they assumed that they were doing the best for the children and didn’t think of the consequences it could have. The teachers didn’t listen to the pupils and didn’t allow them to have imaginative ideas. I think that the reason Dickens wrote this novel addressing the issue of education is because he didn’t like the education system as he was sent out of school, as his father couldn’t afford to pay the bills.
And while he was at school he realised that the education system was the wrong system for him and he would much prefer to be reading storybooks. Like the books that Mary Weller (Dickens’s nanny) read to him as a child. This novel spoke to the audience to protest against the utilitarian way of bringing up children. As Dickens was a social protester himself he tried to give the audience a glimpse of what the future would look like if this form of education was to carry on. Another strong theme in Hard Times is family.
I think Dickens was writing about this as it had had a very big impact on his childhood. This is because his father had been seen to jail because he couldn’t afford to pay his debts. So Dickens had to be sent to a factory to work in polishing shoes. This deeply marked Dickens and so has was trying to tell us not to let families fall apart. I think that this novel is a fable as it has issues underneath the surface, which is telling you not to let the issues happen to you, and to protest against them.
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