Characterization in Dickens' Hard Times Essay

1118 Words 5 Pages
Characterization in Dickens' Hard Times

A firm character basis is the foundation upon which any good novel is built. For an allegorical novel, Dickens' has a surprisingly complex character foundation. The characters in Hard Times have both the simplistic characteristics of a character developed for allegorical purposes, as well as the intricate qualities of "real" people. These characters think and feel like we do and react to their situations in the same way that most of us would. These attributes are what give the characters life and allow us to relate to their decisions.

Three characters in Hard Times; James Harthouse, Josiah Bounderby and Stephen Blackpool, exemplify this realistic quality and each is representative of a
…show more content…
Although most of us cannot directly relate to his problems, we can see how our occupations "occupy" our time and a lack thereof would bring out similar human characteristics.

Harthouse is also very manipulative. He toys with people's emotions and disregards their feelings in favor of his own fancy. These actions probably stem from his need for accomplishment, a need which he satisfies by manipulating people wherever he sees the opportunity. A perfect example is shown in the following, where Harthouse is trying to find some leverage to gain Louisa's fancy:

'Is there nothing,' he thought, glancing at her as she sat at the head of the table, where her youthful figure, small and slight, but very graceful looked as pretty as it looked misplaced; 'is there nothing that will move that face?' Yes! By Jupiter, there was something, and here it was, in an unexpected shape. Tom appeared. She changed as the door opened, and broke into a beaming smile... 'Ay, ay?' thought the visitor. 'This whelp is the only creature she cares for (Dickens 100).

Harthouse then goes on to make friends with the "whelp" in order to be seen favorably by Louisa. Tom is his leverage. It is these types of qualities that make Harthouse a complex, believable character.

Josiah Bounderby exhibits many qualities
Open Document