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Does Charles Dickens Write From A Realist Or A Romantic Perspective In His Novel "Hard Times?"

1181 words - 5 pages

Hard times EssayThe Novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens was, by far, the most enjoyable piece of historical reading that I have done in high school. There were so many themes and ironies under the words that you had to search for, making it an incredibly enjoyable read.Although it may seem impossible, this novel is both romantic and realist. First of all, the novel is automatically romantic, because it is a novel, which was a product of the romantics in the first place. Through this novel, we see the romanticism of the ugliness of a manmade world devoid of God's works. The few romanticized characters in the novel are made obvious, because they are striving toward something, and even if their ...view middle of the document...

He has bound himself in marriage with a woman 20 years his junior, but is too self-centered to have feelings for her. Stephen Blackpool, although he "might have passed for a particularly intelligent man in his condition. Yet he was not," was one of the wiser characters when it came to romanticism and morals. For example, when he didn't feel that rioting with the Hands was the right thing to do, he was the only one to stand up for his beliefs, and was thus thought of as different, and looked down upon by many. Although he has never been rich, does not proclaim his poverty to provoke pity. Like Bounderby, Stephen, too, is in a loveless marriage, but unlike Bounderby, he also knows true love as well in his beloved Rachael.The author's view on the industrial town and the workers thereof is very gloomy. Dickens describes the town as dirty and disgusting, saying, "It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood, it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage." This paints a frightening picture of the town to the reader. We hear little about the workers in the novel, and when we do, they are boring and mechanical, described as simply "hands", no longer people, because they are so brainwashed in facts that they are incapable of feeling emotion.Dickens's view of utilitarian education is that is unhealthy and quite unnecessary to remove all fancy from a child's mind. In order to survive the real world, you need romantic ideas. Dickens shows this through the children that have received this "education". Tom Gradgrind, as a child, completely applied himself to the facts. Because of this, he is now the whelp; the child of a carnivorous man, who has trained his son to the point that he has grown up to be selfish and malicious even to those he cares about. He is so completely devoid of morals that he steals from the Bank to repay own debts and turns the blame towards innocent Stephen Blackpool. Unlike many of the students, Louisa Gradgrind realizes there is something missing in her life....

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