Fact And Fancy In Hard Times English Literature Essay

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Drumhead: A Explores the thematic resistance between fact and illusion, or the caput and the bosom in Charles Dickenss novel Hard Times. Explores the competition between these doctrines as a cardinal subject to the Hard Times, every bit good as a cardinal Southern Cross of human being.

Charles Dickens lived in England during the nineteenth century, during a period of rapid economic growing when the industrial revolution was in full swing. Industrial metropoliss sprung up throughout England, sustained entirely by their mills, which furiously churned out wealth and ware and employed 1000s of working category citizens. The life and on the job conditions for mill labourers in these towns were highly hapless, and the affluent middle class prospered wonderfully by avariciously working their employees, unfortunate people who toiled long hours in begrimed mills to hardly gain their subsistence. Utilitarianism was a prevailing point of view during this period of industrial craze, for it embraced the values of practicality and efficiency ; and the success and endurance of the participants of industrial society frequently depended on these criterions. Dickens was disgusted with the single-mindedness of his society and with the dreary, inanimate ambiance that accompanied it. In his fresh Hard Times, an on-going battle ensues between the thoughts of ‘fact ‘ and ‘fancy ‘ — or the ‘head ‘ and ‘heart. ‘ The competition between these doctrines is a cardinal subject to the Hard Times, non to advert a cardinal Southern Cross of human being every bit good. Should an single base his life on fact and reason, or should he populate by the caprices of his imaginativeness and illusion, following his bosom? Dickens progresss this subject persistently throughout the Hard Times, using frequent usage of descriptive imagination and metaphor throughout novel to inspire the struggle between Fact and Fancy, and the consequence of this accent is a broader, embracing review of industrialised society in general.

Dickens most clearly addresses fact and illusion through his portraiture of the instruction system in Coketown. The first chapter of the fresh commences with a address given by Mr. Gradgrind, addressed to the students at his school: “ Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these male childs and misss nil but Facts. Facts entirely are wanted in life. Plant nil else, and root out everything else. ” Gradgrind takes tremendous pride in being “ eminently practical ; ” a “ adult male of worlds ; ” and he nobly ( in his sentiment ) enterprises to confer these qualities on the vernal students — or instead, to surround them in factual direction. In short, Dickens gives an unimpeachably reprobating feeling of Gradgrind and the school by picturing their forceful, joyless educational methods in contrast to the artlessness and breakability of the kids.

Merely as Gadgrind strictly enforces his useful criterions in his school, he is every bit ardent in adhering to these rules in his ain place. He truly believes that his ideals are indispensable to taking a successful, productive being, and instructs his kids consequently, using his “ mechanical art and enigma of educating the ground without crouching to the cultivation of the sentiments and fondnesss. ” Louisa and Tom must absorb tremendous sums of factual cognition from an early age, while, at the same time, their male parent consistently represses and eradicates any impressions of admiration or imaginativeness that they might entertain, call on the carpeting them, “ Never inquire! ” Not surprisingly, Mr. Gradgrind seeks through his parental counsel to arouse the same consequences as in his school — the transmutation of kids into machine-like workers, missing in personality yet purportedly ideal for expeditiously executing the humdrum, insistent labours of industrial Coketown.

In add-on to his house committedness to everything factual, Gradgrind himself physically personifies the thoughts fact and practicality. Dickens uses abundant imagination to give descriptions of Gradgrind ‘s physical visual aspect, which is unquestionably terrible and methodical, including his “ square index, ” “ square wall of a brow ” — as if the form of a square itself denotes the very impression of ‘fact ‘ — and eyes which “ found convenient cellarage in two dark caves. ” Subsequently his face is more by and large described as “ inflexible ” and “ useful, ” and on the whole, every facet of his visual aspect serves to stress his stiff devotedness to cold facts and his thorough neglect of any kind of non-factual bunk. Dickens employs more imagination to depict the boring being of the Gradgrind kids under their male parent, stating that “ life at Stone Lodge went monotonously round like a piece of machinery, ” and Tom subsequently describes Louisa as stuffed full of “ dry castanetss and sawdust ” by their male parent.

Mr. M’Choakumchild, a instructor at the school, is another person who is characterized figuratively by Dickens. Although his name is more than ample grounds to corroborate his damaging consequence on the kids, there is farther grounds of the harmful nature of his methods. The detrimental reverberations of his educational tortures are particularly pronounced when Dickens compares him to “ Morgiana in the Forty Thieves ; ” the instructor equals into “ all the vass ranged before him, ” and Dickens ‘s storyteller addresses him: “ Say, good M’Choakumchild. When from thy boiling shop, thou shalt make full each jar brim full by-and-by, dost 1000 think that 1000 wilt ever kill outright the robber Fancy lurking within — or sometimes merely maim him and falsify him! ” In this analogy, the ailments of stamp downing emotion and fancy become disturbingly concrete ; for person to digest a distorted, halt illusion could perchance be presumed as bad or worse than possessing none at all, and this possible jeopardy is manifested subsequently in the novel.

Following to Tom and Louisa, Sissy Jupe is another character in Hard Times who, possibly most acutely, feels the subjugations of forbidden illusion in Gradgrind ‘s classroom. As the girl of a circus performing artist, she is of course really accustomed to believing wild, inventive ideas, and she struggles in vain to acclimatize herself to the meticulously factual lessons in category. In one case, when Gradgrind commands Sissy to depict a Equus caballus, she is already so petrified by Mr. Gradgrind ‘s after part, unsympathetic visage, every bit good as the rational restraints of the lesson already imposed heretofore, that she fails even to offer a response. On the other manus, Bitzer, a male child in her category, gives a extremely abstruse, scientific reply which pleases Mr. Gradgrind vastly: “ Quadruped. Gramnivorous. 40 dentitions. Sheds coat in spring… ”

Subsequently Dickens uses more imagination to straight contrast Sissy and Bitzer, implicitly fostering the development of ‘fact ‘ and ‘fancy. ‘ When he describes the two students, who happen to sit in the same row-and, at the clip, in the same sunbeam-Sissy, who is full to brimming with fancy, is literally beaming in the sunshine: “ the miss was so dark-eyed and black-haired, that she seemed to have more bright colour from the Sun. ” As for Bitzer, who is already crammed full of information and utterly devoid of any kind of inventive module, the light maps to “ pull out of him what small colour he of all time possessed… his tegument was so unwholesomely deficient in the natural touch that he looked as though, if he were cut, he would shed blood white. ” In this mode, Dickens underscores the grim effects of an laden imaginativeness by puting off the colorless infirmity personified by Bitzer ‘s physical visual aspect, from the cheery verve that shines from the notional Sissy ; therefore, one time once more, Dickens exemplifies the retardation of Coketown ‘s educational system.

Aside from decorating his descriptions with frequent imagination, Dickens besides uses assorted metaphors to stress the resistance between fact and illusion. The specifics of Gradgrind ‘s useful angle on the proper instruction of the young person are peppered with metaphors that Dickens draws on to mockingly embroider his stubborn strong beliefs. Gradgrind ‘s classroom is a “ vault, ” and his students are “ small vass ” and “ small hurlers, ” neatly displayed and naively expecting the “ imperial gallons of facts ” that will be crammed into them. Gradgrind intends to forcefully free these delicate “ vass ” of any fancy and imaginativeness wholly, sing these virtues to be useless follies that serve no practical usage in the existent universe, and Dickens emphasizes Gradgrind ‘s over-zealous capacity for devastation when he describes him as “ a sort of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the parts of childhood at one discharge. ” In short, Dickens gives an unimpeachably reprobating feeling of Gradgrind and the school by metaphorically picturing their forceful, joyless educational methods in contrast to the naivete and breakability of the kids.

A primary aim of Coketown ‘s industrialised environment shortly appears to be uniformity itself, another subject that is greatly enhanced by metaphorical linguistic communication. When Mr. M’Choakumchild is introduced, Dickens informs us that “ he and some one hundred and forty other headmasters had been recently turned at the same clip, in the same mill, on the same rules, like so many pianoforte legs ” — thereby efficaciously comparing the preparation of instructors to industrialised industry, and besides suggesting that the procedure of mass bring forthing standardised machines of people is a cardinal, driving force in Coketown ‘s society. This force permeates the instruction of the young person in school, where the machine-like instructor will mass bring forth industry-proficient citizens from the natural stuffs available in the fictile small students. And if they are to be appropriately equipped for the existent universe, Gradgrind presumes that these kids will necessitate facts — tonss of facts — and artlessness and imaginativeness are to be rooted out and discarded. The finished merchandises of this strict preparation will emerge by the tonss, aptly-suited to stand out in the industrial plodding of Coketown.

Louisa and Tom Gradgrind, unsurprisingly, experience the rawness of their being even at an early age, and in one case when their wonder gets the better of them, they ca n’t defy peeping through a fencing at a circus public presentation. When their male parent catches them in the act, he is astounded, angered to happen them in such a “ debauched place. ” At this point Tom simply gives “ himself up to be taken place like a machine ” ( my accent ) , but Louisa is non rather so learned or obedient as Tom and shows more opposition to her male parent. Dickens depicts her remarkable, pathetic look in this minute: “ fighting through the dissatisfaction of her face, there was a light with nil to rest upon, a fire with nil to fire, a starving imaginativeness maintaining life in itself somehow, which brightened its look. ” Louisa ‘s interior fire becomes a repeating metaphor throughout Hard Times that symbolizes her suppressed imaginativeness, and it takes on extra significance later in the novel. In this transition, the fire combustion inside Louisa is already starved but persists however. Figuratively talking, her imaginativeness smoulders weakly and smokily among the “ dry castanetss and sawdust ” that she has been filled with, and alternatively of a healthy fire of emotions and imaginativeness, Louisa is filled with “ languid and humdrum fume. ”

Subsequently in the novel, the long-run effects of digesting a childhood devoted to facts become blatantly obvious. Once Tom obtains his long-awaited independency from his male parent ‘s cold, scientific bid, the strict preparation of his childhood violently backfires. Tom spirals downward in a concatenation of progressively irresponsible, self-indulgent behaviours, including gaming and imbibing, and finally he gambles himself into pecuniary crises. His true colourss come to the surface as he tries to cover with his jobs, and we find out that, with all the facts and figures that his male parent land into him, Gradgrind had seemingly either overlooked or fallen short of transfusing any kind of moral fibre in his boy. Ironically, Tom ends up seeking safety from the jurisprudence by executing in camouflage in the circus, the last topographic point his male parent would hold predicted during Tom ‘s disciplined young person. Ultimately, Tom ends up flying overseas after he rebukes Louisa for non assisting him with his debts, and on foreign dirt, full of compunction, he sickens and dies while trying to return to his darling sister. All in all, Gradgrind ‘s awful parenting is the cause of his boy ‘s failures in life ; Tom ‘s squashed feelings of wonder and captivation exploded out of control once they were unbridled, ensuing in his Swift and fatal ruin. Through Tom ‘s blue destiny, Dickens grimly illustrates the reverberations of Gradgrind ‘s useful influence on those under his attention.

Louisa, on the other manus, does non meet so abandon a destiny as her brother, but the effects of her deprived childhood are however pronounced. While still immature, Louisa marries Mr. Bounderby, an doomed determination that resulted mostly due to the dispassionate visage that her male parent infused in her from an early age. Subsequently, like her brother, she easy succumbs to enticement one time she is freed from her male parent ‘s Fe appreciation. In her instance, the enticement is an matter with James Hearthouse, a adult male who easy entreaties to Louisa ‘s immature, undeveloped emotions. However, Harthouse rouses Louisa ‘s long-dormant feelings into a sulky agitation, and before she consummates any unfaithfulness, the emotional poorness of her life engulfs her in a jolting, ineluctable world — the realisation that she is destined to take a asleep and passionless being — and so she returns to her male parent full of anguish and reproach, impeaching him of destroying her. The ‘fire ‘ metaphor appears once more, for the once-sedated inventive inclinations inside of Louisa have become destructive, firing “ within her like an unwholesome fire. ” She spends the remainder of her yearss at Stone Lodge under the loving influence of Sissy, seeking to recover what had become shriveled and scrawny under her male parent ‘s attention. Unfortunately, Louisa has been for good robbed of her interior spirit, her ability to populate in feeling, and she finally endures a black being, unable to procure a place or kids of her ain.

Fortunately, Mr. Gradgrind is able learn the mistake of his ways, but his transition does non save the ruin of his two eldest kids. When Louisa returns and reveals to him the effects of his parenting, he is at first dubious, but is finally convinced by the “ wild dilating fire ” in his girl ‘s eyes. Once he comes to footings with the fact that his life and beliefs, everything he had antecedently stood for, are in mistake, he arrives at the wise decision “ that there is a wisdom of the Head, and that there is a wisdom of the Heart. ” Subsequently he acknowledges that Sissy, “ by mere love and gratitude, ” has brightened his family and his youngest girl: “ what the Head had left undone and could non make, the Heart may hold been making mutely. ” Gradgrind ‘s realisation is dry, for he is the last character who we would anticipate to acknowledge the defects of ‘facts ‘ and the powers of the ‘heart. ‘ Dickens ‘s message is clear: neither the Head nor the Heart is inherently bad ; alternatively, the rival doctrines complement one another, and both should wholeheartedly encompass and juxtaposed so that nil can be “ left undone. ”

Finally, Sissy Jupe serves as a blunt contrast to the other doomed characters. After her male parent wantonnesss her early in the novel, she takes up abode with none other than the Gradgrinds themselves. Sissy is innately inclined toward fancy and an alive imaginativeness, and her experiences in the schoolroom show that she tends to talk from her bosom, instead than conforming to the spiritless design that Gradgrind ‘s school holds in shop for her. Indeed, her bosom proves excessively strong and passionate to subject to the perverting coaching she receives in school, and accordingly she is withdrawn as a consequence of her ‘inaptitude. ‘ Despite the arrest in her instruction, Sissy grows into a reasonable, compassionate adult female during her old ages with the Gradgrinds, still retaining her robust imaginativeness — a instead dumbfounding achievement sing the notoriously unwholesome ambiance of Stone Lodge. Later in the fresh Sissy becomes a beacon of ethical motives and kindness to the troubled Louisa: “ In the artlessness of her courageous fondness, and the brimming up of her old devoted spirit, the one time deserted miss shone like a beautiful visible radiation upon the darkness of the other. ” Furthermore, merely Sissy can get down to repair Louisa ‘s deformed spirit with her “ soft touch ” and “ sympathetic manus ” and take a breath the beginnings of life into an emotionally dead psyche ; and once more it is Sissy who gives the youngest Gradgrind girl the affectionate nurturing that Louisa and Tom needed so severely in their young persons.

By stressing the constructs of fact and illusion in Hard Times, Dickens pigments a spoting theoretical account of the industrialised Victorian society, representing its defects in characters like Gradgrind and Bounderby. On the whole, Dickens renders Gradgrind and his school wholly destructive and sinister, thereby showing a possible review of the schools in Victorian England at the current clip. More significantly, nevertheless, the smaller universe of the schoolroom straight reflects the larger, zealously industrialised society that exists outdoors — both Coketown itself and the universe in which Dickens lived. Through the chief characters and their experiences in the representative environment of instruction, Dickens exemplifies the superficiality and degeneracy of industrialised economic system, which is epitomized by Coketown. Gradgrind and Bounderby deem the Coketown workers, like Louisa and Tom, to be “ everlastingly disgruntled and unwieldy, ” and Dickens openly speculates that there is an “ analogy between the instance of the Coketown population and the instance of the small Gradgrinds. ” Furthermore, Coketown itself embodies the characteristic descriptions of Gradgrind ‘s place and schoolroom, shown in the lines “ Fact, fact, fact, everyplace in the material facet of the town ; fact, fact, fact, everyplace in the immaterial, ” and the antecedently noted injuries of the Coketown schoolroom are amplified in Coketown ‘s mills, where machinery is “ chopping people up ” and the workers face decease “ immature and deformed. ” Extra descriptions of Coketown give grounds of the built-in infirmity of its moral and social underpinnings, for although the town appears mightily and deathless, with its ramping mills of fire and fume and its dictatorship over the enslaved workers, Coketown ‘s machinery throbs “ feebly like a fainting pulsation. ” The deficiency of any kind of back uping foundation is farther emphasized by the patchy, unsubstantial quality imparted on the edifices by its carbon black and dirt: the town is “ shrouded in a haze of its ain, ” “ a fuzz of carbon black and fume, ” discernable merely as a “ huffish splodge upon the chance. ” Furthermore, Dickens really suggests that this industrialised society is basically corrupt and iniquitous when he conveys Coketown as “ nil but multitudes of darkness ” that “ confusedly ” aspire to “ the vault of Heaven, ” with its chimneys “ lifting up into the air like viing Towers of Babel. ” These descriptions cast a really accusative, judgmental visible radiation on industrialism and its perpetuators in general.

In Hard Times, these perpetuators, or the middle class on the whole, are represented by Mr. Bounderby, a genuinely ugly, selfish character, and a “ self-made Humbug ” ( in his ain words ) who claims to follow the same doctrine as Gradgrind, and he invariably proclaims the antic narratives of his destitute, abandoned childhood and improbable rise to fortune. When Gradgrind encounters Mrs. Bounderby at the terminal of the novel, he hurriedly reproaches her, inquiring at her audaciousness in demoing her face to her boy, to which she replies, “ Lord forgive you, sir, for your wicked imaginativenesss. ” This statement is dry on several degrees, for Gradgrind has merely late abandoned his stiff dependance on facts — but now, that which he deemed most faithfully factual and true is revealed as a pinnacle of notional prevarications. Furthermore, Gradgrind himself once propagated the impression that imaginativeness is useless and wicked ; later, there is now a kind of role-reversal between himself and Bounderby ‘s female parent. Last, Bounderby, that sturdy and respected maintainer of reason and fact, is exposed as an arrant dissembler. He is a adult male so profoundly embedded in farcical fictions that his full public individuality is an invented facade, a clutter of pathetic, notional psychotic beliefs, correspondent to the elusive, aeriform qualities of Coketown itself. It is his imaginativeness that is genuinely wicked, and he simply endorses useful positions as a consequence of his greedy opportunism. By portraying Bounderby as a shameless cheat who is unmindful to the predicament of his employees, Dickens suggests that industrialised society has been created and sustained without respect to human compassion or morality, and that, as a system, this type of society Fosters merely frailty and wretchedness.

In drumhead, Dickens creates a loveless, greed-driven universe within Coketown ‘s schools and mills, where the rules of the market take precedency over human compassion. By approving the proliferation of fact and reason, every bit good as the subjugation of imaginativeness of illusion, Bounderby has no benevolent motivation. He seeks to increase his wealth by increasing the efficiency of his workers, and the specialised instruction of the young person in Coketown is simply one manifestation of industrialised greed. Gradgrind, on the other manus, seaports good purposes for the kids, but as to the effects of his actions, he is soberly misguided, as Dickens so explicitly shows. Although Dickens does non offer a clear solution to society ‘s ailments, he portrays the goodness of world in the members of the circus, who “ cared so small for field Fact, ” and about whom “ there was a singular gradualness and puerility ” and an “ hardworking preparedness to assist and feel for one another. ” On one note, nevertheless, Dickens is rather clear: human nature can non be reduced to a overplus of facts and figures, and neither can it be predicted as such:

It is known, to the force of a individual lb weight, what the engine will make ; but non all the reckoners of the National debt can state me the capacity for good or evil, for love or hatred, for nationalism or discontent, for the decomposition of virtuousness into frailty… at any individual minute in the psyche of one of these quiet retainers.

Devils repeatedly illustrates the sedate reverberations of Coketown ‘s society, of smothering the fire of imaginativeness, giving a upseting position of human greed and its power to pervert.