Victorian times

Even the way that Louisa ends up marrying Bounderby when she does not want to. This was because of the way that she was raised, the way she has no personality. The only reason that that she married Bounderby was because she thought there was nothing left to live for in her life and said, ‘there is no pain in living and married Bounderby’. Tom is seen as weak, selfish and nasty and often known as a “whelp” Tom blames it all on his upbringing and he would have a different personality if his up bringing was more light-hearted and not so factual.

Tom main worst act of selfishness was when Tom robbed the bank and had Stephen stand out side it so he was seen to be the main suspect. Even when his sister Louisa tries to help him out from his gambling debt he just shouts abuse at her, saying that she should have been there when she was needed the most. All of this shows Tom to be very selfish and uncaring to the people around him he is closest to.

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When the circus are first introduced they are portrayed by Dickens to be as colourful,’ golden stars stuck all over him.’ Made to seem as if they are just ordinary people, “ith it the intenthion to do anything for the poor girl Thquire,” Sleary is given a lisp to make the circus people sound like more ordinary people. When Gradgrind and Bounderby come and talk to Sleary, Sleary takes an immediate dislike to Bounderby and almost ignoring every thing Bounderby has to say. Sleary not liking Bounderby makes us like them even more because they are not the only ones who dislike Bounderby.

In addition, the usage of large religious words such as “and his ethereal harness made of red silk.” This make them seem heavenly, godly and more important than any other characters, almost showing that they should be what you focus on when you read the novel. They are described as colourful, wondrous, full of life, which are very descriptive pieces of imagery used by Dickens to contrast with the ways that the people on the side of Gradgrind are presented.

Sissy is the main character from the circus, she is colourful, kind-hearted and a symbol of everything that Gradgrind is not, when she is to be taken in when her father runs away, she releases something inside of Gradgrind. This is something that we fist thought he was incapable of, we see a hint of compassion in Gradgrind, when he saves Sissy from Bounderby. This spark of compassion in Gradgrind changes our views on him we no longer see him as a cold, uncaring, impermeable man but a man who has always loved the people closest to him.

When Gradgrind starts asking her mathematical questions Sissy’s Answers shows that she thinks that the question as a real live event, instead of it being a made up situation. Gradgrind says, “there are 1 million people in this town, if 25 starve to death. What is you remark on the proportion?” Gradgrind expecting a mathematical answer gets the answer, “it must have be just as hard on those people who were starved, whether the others were a million or a million million,” this is quite a significant answer because it shows that she is thinking beyond the point of a maths question and seeing it as a real life situation. Gradgrind ends up baffled by the way that she thinks and can really tell that there is clearly something unique about her compared to his other pupils.

Eventually living with Sissy and getting to know her way of thinking a bit better, realising what his way of teaching had turned people into he eventually realises how wrong his life long perfected teaching technique really was. When Sissy is dealing with some of the most despicable characters in the book like Harthouse she still speaks to them as if the were friends. With the kindness that she holds, she talks to to Harthouse she tells him to go away, Harthouse complies, and she saves Louisa from ruining her life even more than it was.

Rachel at one point says that, “Sissy seems like the link between the two different worlds,” saying that Sissy is what has connected the two classes together. She seals the bond between the imaginative and the non-imaginative people. The rich and poor, fact and fiction, because she has managed to fix the almost unfixable, it has made her a very unrealistic character, (she is like a fairy godmother of the novel). By the end of this enthralling novel Gradgrind had changed in many ways, he has started to talk to the lower class people like Sleary. He no longer sees himself as a higher being, a god, he knows that he has been wrong for many years.

When Tom robbed the bank, he needed somewhere to put him so he went to the circus because he felt it was the safest place for him and he felt the circus people were the only people he could trust. The fact that Tom was helped by the circus to escape, is ironic in some ways because of the way that lower class people, were willing to help out the upper class people, but the upper class people were never willing to help the lower class people, this might in someway shows that imagination has achieved what factual learning never could.

Therefore, I draw to my conclusion is that Gradgrind’s family were in the novel to represent the richer class of England and the circus was the poor. The way the circus people were described made them seem fictional (almost too good to be real). People from Gradgrind’s house were as unrealistic as the circus people but had the more authentic points to them. Charles Dickens had clearly set out to portray his feelings on the country, he had gone at it full force with his point at the hope when people read his novel they could see just what was going on. He is tying to say that he wants to see changes in the modern society, like the poor being treated as equals to the rich and the rich to stop taking advantage to the situation of the Victorian times. In the end it is seen as a small triumph for the richer classes in the story because Gradgrind final realises how wrong he was and starts to make a change in the way he lived. Dickens hoped that the upper classes would follow his examples.