Essay Cruel Intentions in Hard Times by Charles Dickens

Essay Cruel Intentions in Hard Times by Charles Dickens

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Cruel Intentions in Hard Times by Charles Dickens


Charles Dickens wrote Hard Times as an attempt to show the injustices of life for many different people and to explain that in order to be happy, people need one another. Through the epiphanies of many characters in this novel, Dickens shows their realization of this fact and how they plan to pursue their goals from there on. These characters are used as mouthpieces to spread the theme to the reader. Louisa Gradgrind, Stephen Blackpool, and Tom Gradgrind are such characters. All three follow their respective lives for the first book of the novel. As the story progresses, the reader sees these characters become unhappy and distant with their previous views as life begins to turn on them. For each, a last fleeting moment presents itself as they plan to change their ways and move forward to their best suited destination. Stephen, Louisa and Tom differ in their prior lives, their paths to change, and final plan of action, but they change for the better. These changes are used by Dickens to voice what he wishes in this novel. Through the use of many literary elements Dickens does this. Dickens uses imagery and foreshadowing to reflect the change in Louisa’s, Tom’s and Stephen’s view on life.
Louisa Gradgrind, the daughter of Thomas Gradgrind, has always followed her father’s philosophy of leading a factual based life, ever since her upbringing in her fathers school and up to many important decisions in life. Not until her marriage to Mr. Bounderby comes close to failing, does she realize the mistakes made in her life. She charges to her fathers home and expresses her concern to her father in a time of need. Dickens uses this moment of Louisa’s to showcase his mastery of imagery...


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...ct. Stephen changes in a similar way. Through all his life he has trusted the world and has been beaten down through no fault of his own. After Dickens uses the foreshadowing in his being exiled, his false suspicion and provoked return, Stephen is knocked down one more time, both literally and figuratively. He then proceeds to give his new interpretation on life in front of the crowd willing to listen. Stephen still blames no one and realizes that he has been a victim of circumstance. His irregularly long speech propels him to the center of attention and he is able to speak the themes of the novel. The imagery shows that life is tough to all people and it knows no boundary between circus, fact, and hand. Dickens wanted this to be his main point, people from each realm made realizations on this subject throughout the novel. In this way life has had cruel intentions.

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