In the second book, Bounderby ironically fires Blackpool. This is because he kept the promise he made to Rachel, did not join the union, and was ostracised from the mill workers. The double standards shown by Bounderby are enormous; it reflects the utilitarianism attitude that Bounderby and Gradgrind share. Blackpool fell out of the majority, the ‘greater number’ the ‘greater good’ and so was dismissed from the mill.
This part of the story, I believe, is used by Dickens to expose some of the hypocrisy of those in power. He is being critical of the utilitarian philosophy and is using satire to explore the fact that those in power showed little understanding of the difficulties faced by the poor. Bounderby is representing those in power and Blackpool is representing the poor.The book has been split into three sections that are titled ‘Sowing’, ‘Reaping’ and ‘Garnering’.
In the first book, we are introduced to the philosophical ideas and are shown the seeds of utilitarianism, which are being ‘sown’ into the minds of the children. In the second book we are shown the children that have grown up with the utilitarian ideas, they have no emotion, no passion and base all their decisions on fact and logic.In the denouement of the book, we see the full effect of Dickens use of satire and irony when he reveals the fates of all the characters. Mrs Peglar comes back to town, Mr Gradgrind’s only option is to ask Mr Sleary for help and young Tom Gradgrind is forced to leave the country. Mr Bounderby is exposed as a fraud and Mr Gradgrind is reduced to accepting the help of an alcoholic. They are reaping the ‘rewards’ of their utilitarian philosophy.The characters in the book can be easily split into two groups, the utilitarian group and the altruistic group. Dickens has named all his characters according o their personality.
These two points lead me to believe that the characters are not all fully developed and some are put in to fit a stereotypical role which was easily recognisable in the nineteenth centaury. All the Gradgrind’s follow the utilitarian philosophy. As their name suggests they are grading and grinding. They live in ‘stone lodge’, which is exactly as the name suggests, a lodging of stone. It is a house built on fact; “Six windows on this side of the door, six on that side; a total of twelve in this wing, a total of twelve in the other wing.” Inside this house live a family built on fact; ‘No little Gradgrind had ever seen a face in the moon.
‘The children have all been deprived of any fancy; they have been brought up on fact and never learned to feel any This is most obvious in chapter fifteen when Louisa Gradgrind decides to marry Mr Bounderby. Louisa thinks through the question logically and knowing that if she married him it would further her brother’s career she does so. She does not for one moment let any emotions interfere with her decision, “father…
do you ask me to love Mr Bounderby?” There is no love or emotion; this is a union of reason and fact.But at the same time as we see Louisa Gradgrind making all her decisions based upon the utilitarian philosophy we see Mr Gradgrind’s belief in it begin to falter. The chapter is ended with Mr Gradgrind concluding “that there is a wisdom of the head, and there is a wisdom of the heart.” We are seeing the beginning of the failure of utilitarianism in Coketown. Mr Bounderby is a lively character; he is a ‘bounder’ who has lied about his past to gain himself respect. He is a hypocrite and a follower of the utilitarian school of thought.’The bully of humility.’ He has employed a lady called Mrs Sparsit who Is extremely nosy and has a very strong view about everything, in particular those who fall out of the ‘majority’; “These people must be conquered, and it’s time it was done, once and for all.
” A lady who is naï¿½ve enough to believe that everyone should follow the same school of thought as her is another firm believer of utilitarianism. She also does not end up happy at the end of the book.The absolute personification of the utilitarian philosophy is a boy called Bitzer. The lack of any feelings or a human nature reduce Bitzer to only being a Bit of a person, he is not a complete character. In the latter stages of the book he is employed as a light porter in a bank, Dickens intended the pun. When we are first introduced to Bitzer, he is a model pupil at Gradgrind’s school.
He is the oxymoron of the altruistic Sissy Jupe, in their physical appearance as well as their contrasting personalities;”The girl was so dark-eyed and dark-haired, that she seemed to receive a deeper and more lustrous colour from the sun, when it shone upon her, the boy was so light-eyed and light-haired that the self-same rays appeared to draw out of him what little colour he ever possessed.” Dickens is contrasting utilitarianism with altruistic views in the same way light is the oxymoron of dark at this early stage of the book the light is shining upon the utilitarian philosophy leaving the altruistic Sissy Jupe in the dark. Representing the power of instinct and compassion, Sissy Jupe is immune to the factual regime imposed by Mr Gradgrind, For her, “statistics” are “stutterings.” Nevertheless, she has a loving influence upon the Gradgrind household; this allows the human of nature of Louisa Gradgrind to prevail in the denouement of the novel.This complete change in her personality is prompted by the actions of Stephen Blackpool. Blackpool has been connections to the working class north in his surname and his first name has links to martyrdom. He is falsely accused of theft by Blackpool and Louisa Gradgrind is the only person who trusts him.
Returning to Coketown in order to clear his name, he fell down a disused mine which is symbolically named ‘Old Hell Shaft,’ this is another reference by Dickens to the evils of those in positions of power especially in large corporations and industry.Dickens, using certain characters to represent different philosophical beliefs has raised in status the altruistic school of thought. He has also used his exaggerated style, wit and irony to indirectly attack the utilitarian beliefs and the lack of understanding shown by those in positions of power. The characters have not been developed through the book. They are artificial, merely representing philosophical ideas; they are never given any depth or humanity.
They appear thin and are merely ciphers in a social tract. The wheel has turned a complete revolution by the end of the book.