Hard Times Character Analysis

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Hard Times by Charles Dickens is a social and moral tale of his normal vein. It takes place in a fictional mining town during the height of the industrial revolution and introduces characters intended to represent the extremes of society during that time. Mr. Gradgrind and his family, as well as his associate Mr. Bounderby and his employee Mrs. Sparsit all represent the no-nonsense upper middle class to upper class of the time (mid-nineteenth century). They were raised in religion with a basis in moral living, compassionate only when it served the interests they considered valuable. Their approach to life was to live simply, enjoy little excess, and pass these values to the next generation in a stern, concise manner. As Mr. Gradgrind delivered his proposal to Sissy Jupe after learning her father had absconded, it was clear he did so with intent to show his moral character to others, “I shall have the satisfaction of causing you to be strictly educated; and you will be living proof to all who come into communication with you, of the advantages of the training you will receive. You will be reclaimed and formed.” In his efforts to demonstrate how this school of thought was not necessarily the right path, Dicken’s continually returns to the theme of imagination, particularly with the use of ‘wondering’. At the start of chapter 8, titled clearly and simply Never Wonder, Louisa began a conversation with her brother with, “Tom, I wonder,” to which her father sharply replied,
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