The research paper explores the basic ideas related to Psychoanalysis in the context of Charles Dickens Hard Times. Sigmund Freud laid the foundation of ‘Psychoanalysis’. The research paper is based on Freudian Psychoanalysis as it attempts to study the characters in this novel in its light. The psychoanalytic theory refers to the concept of the development of personality and its changing dynamics. It studies the influence of childhood impressions on the personality development of the adults and on their mental functioning. It focusses on the ideas based on personality which include the division of psyche into the id, the ego and the superego, repression, transference and fantasy. The research paper studies and analyses these ideas in relation to the characters in this novel. It also explores the ideas in the mind of the author in the light of this novel.
Keywords: Psychoanalysis, personality development, id, ego, superego, repression, transference, parentification, fantasy
Psychoanalysis is a psychological and psychotherapeutic theory because it deals with the scientific study of mental functions and behaviours and it is also used for therapeutic interaction or treatment of a patient by a psychologist or a psychiatrist. It is devised by an Austrian neurologist called Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century. This field has evolved over a period of time but has also been the target of scathing criticism. Charles Dickens’ (1812-1870) Hard Times (1854) is a study in psychoanalysis because the characters in this novel depict the mental functions and behaviours of individuals in real life. In this novel, Louisa Gradgrind, the daughter of Thomas Gradgrind and wife of Josiah Bounderby, experiences a nervous breakdown as she realizes that she despises her husband Josiah Bounderby but may be romantically inclined towards James Harthouse. She is not sure of her feelings towards James Harthouse as she is unable to experience any emotion whatsoever. She feels miserable and is unable to rectify the situation. She finally makes a candid confession in front of her father. She tells her father:
“And I so young. In this condition, father – for I show you now, without fear or favour, the ordinary deadened state of my mind as I know it – you proposed my husband to me. I took him. I never made a pretence to him or you that I loved him. I knew, and, father, you knew, and he knew, that I never didâ€¦” (Hard Times 212)
“I am coming to it. Father, chance then threw into my way a new acquaintance, a man such as I had no experience of; used to the world; light, polished, easy; making no pretences; avowing the low estimate of everything, that I was half afraid to form in secret; conveying to what degrees, that he understood me, and read my thought. I could not find that he was worse than I. There seemed to be a near affinity between us. I only wondered it should be worth his while, who cared for nothing else, to care so much for me.” (Hard Times 213)
Louisa blames her predicament on her father’s faulty education based on utilitarian principles which has left her alienated from her emotions and has made her incapable of experiencing any kind of emotions. She then collapses on the floor as she is unable to contain the mental pressure to which she has been subjected as a result of the turbulence in her life caused by an unhappy marriage and by the sudden entry of James Harthouse in her life.
The chief tenets of psychoanalysis are:
The two types of fantasy are conscious fantasy and unconscious fantasy. The conscious fantasy refers to an imagined sequence fulfilling a psychological need such as daydreams. In conscious fantasy, there is an imagined situation that expresses certain desires or aims of the creator. In Hard Times, Mrs. Sparsit, Josiah Bounderby’s housekeeper, who is from an aristocratic background is a selfish, manipulative and a dishonest woman. She is sent to live in the bank apartment by Josiah Bounderby when he marries Louisa Gradgrind. Mrs. Sparsit has a secret desire to see Josiah Bounderby’s marriage get ruined. When Louisa begins to develop a kind of intimacy with James Harthouse despite being married to Bounderby, Mrs. Sparsit sees chances of Bounderby’s marriage getting destroyed. She indulges in conscious fantasy and imagines Louisa descending a staircase into shame and ignominy. This is her daydream which expresses her hidden desire to ruin Bounderby’s marriage so that she could avenge herself for the wrongs done to her by Bounderby which includes the loss of her privileges, position and power after Bounderby’s marriage to Louisa.
Now Mrs. Sparsit was not a poetical woman; but she took an idea, in the nature of an allegorical fancy, into her head. Much watching of Louisa, and much consequent observation of her impenetrable misdemeanour, which keenly whetted and sharpened Mrs. Sparsit’s edge, must have given her, as it were, a lift in the way of inspiration. She erected in her mind a mighty staircase, with a dark pit of shame and ruin at the bottom; and down those stairs, from day to day and hour to hour, she saw Louisa coming.
It became the business of Mrs. Sparsit’s life to look up at her staircase, and to watch Louisa coming down. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, sometimes several steps at one bout, sometimes stopping, never turning back. If she had once turned back, it might have been the death of Mrs. Sparsit in spleen and grief.
She had been descending steadily, to the day, and on the day, when Mr. Bounderby issued the weekly invitation recorded above. Mrs Sparsit was in good spirits, and inclined to be conversational. (Dickens 197-198)
The unconscious fantasy on the other hand refers to the ‘Object Relations Theory’ which saw its beginning with Sándor Ferenczi (1873-1933), a Hungarian psychoanalyst, and was created as a modern theory by Otto Rank (1884-1939), an Austrian psychoanalyst, in the late 1920s. It was later extended by British psychologists such as Ronald Fairbairn (1889-1964), Melanie Klein (1882-1960), Donald Winnicott (1896-1971), Harry Guntrip (1901-1975), Scott Stuart and others in1940s and 1950s. Melanie Klein termed it as ‘unconscious phantasy’ instead of ‘unconscious fantasy’ to distinguish it from conscious fantasy or daydreams. The ‘Object Relations Theory’ refers to the development of the psyche of an individual as one grows in relation to external stimuli from the environment. The individuals relate to others as well as to situations in their adulthood as per their family experiences in their early childhood. A part of an individual’s personality is inherited but the other part of the personality is determined by events in early childhood. In the novel, Louisa Gradgrind is strictly forbidden to entertain imaginative fancy or to express her emotions as a result her emotions become dormant within her and she is unable to express them even when their expression is desirable.
When she was half a dozen years younger, Louisa had been overheard to begin a conversation with her brother one day, by saying, “Tom, I wonder” – upon which Mr. Gradgrind, who was the person overhearing, stepped forth into the light, and said, “Louisa, never wonder!” (Hard Times 59)
As a result Louisa is unable to react in a favourable way or show any emotions whatsoever. She does not show any emotions even when she is given the news of her marriage:
“Louisa, my dear, you are the subject of a proposal of marriage that has been made to me.”
Again he waited, and again she answered not one word. This so far surprised him, as to induce him gently to repeat, “a proposal of marriage, my dear.” To which she returned without any visible emotion whatever –
“I hear you, father. I am attending, I assure you.”
“Well!” said Mr. Gradgrind, breaking into a smile, after being for the moment at a loss, “you are even more dispassionate than I expected, Louisa. Or, perhaps, you are not unprepared for the announcement I have it in charge to make?”
(Hard Times 102)
Id, Ego and Superego
In New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1933) and An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1939), Sigmund Freud’s structural model of the psyche describes three theoretical constructs which defines the mental life of an individual. “Prominent among these developments was Freud’s model of the mind as having three types of functions: the id (which incorporates libidinal and other desires), the superego (the internalization of standards of morality and propriety), and the ego (which tries as best it can to negotiate the conflicts between the insatiable demands of the id, the impossibly stringent requirements of the superego, and the limited possibilities of gratification offered by the world of ‘reality’)” (Abrams 265). In the novel, Stephen Blackpool who is a hand in the factory of Josiah Bounderby in Coketown is honest, compassionate and a man of integrity. He is in love with Rachel who is also a hand in a factory in Coketown and is a simple as well as an honest woman. But Stephen Blackpool is unable to marry Rachel as he is already married to a lascivious, drunken woman whom he doesn’t love. The three theoretical constructs of the structural model of the psyche as forwarded by Sigmund Freud may be studied in relation to the psyche of Stephen Blackpool. Stephen Blackpool’s ardent love for Rachel represents the id that is the unorganized part of his personality structure which contains his basic, instinctual drive, the libido (sexual instinct/sexual drive). It acts according to the pleasure principle and it is unresponsive to the demands of the reality principle. In Freudian psychology, pleasure principle refers to the urge of an individual to seek pleasure and to avoid pain in order to satisfy the biological and the psychological needs whereas reality principle refers to the circumstantial reality which compels an individual to put off instant gratification. Stephen’s love for Rachel gives him pleasure amidst pain and suffering because she is a striking contrast or a foil to his wife due to her simplicity, honesty and compassion. His superego that is the organized part of his personality structure which may also be referred to as his conscience aims for perfection and criticizes his feelings for Rachel because he is married. His love is responsive to the reality principle as the circumstantial reality of him being married to another woman does not allow him to marry Rachel. This leads to deferring of instant gratification that is attaining happiness in response to the fulfilment of his desire of marrying her. The superego is seen to be working in contradiction to the id as the superego acts in a socially appropriate manner whereas the id demands instant self-gratification. The ego intervenes and acts according to the reality principle. It pleases the instinctual drives of the id in realistic ways which will render long term benefits rather than bringing in grief and guilt through instant gratification. Stephen Blackpool’s ego makes him think of a divorce from his wife so that he may marry Rachel thereby representing deferred gratification. Stephen Blackpool’s marriage to Rachel after his divorce from his wife will be legal thus socially acceptable, it will not involve the reproaches of the superego and it will also satiate the libido of his id. So he approaches Mr. Bounderby for advice regarding his divorce from his wife but he discourages him by telling him that divorce is an option available only to the wealthy people but Stephen being a poor man will have to accept his miserable existence.
“Now, I tell you what!” said Mr. Bounderby, putting his hands in his pockets. “There is such a law.”
Stephen, subsiding into his quiet manner, and never wandering in his attention, gave a nod.
“But it’s not for you at all. It costs money. It costs a mint of money.”
“How much might that be?” Stephen calmly asked.
“Why, you’d have to go to Doctor’s Commons with a suit, and you’d have to go to a court of Common Law with a suit, and you’d have to go to the House of Lords with a suit, and you’d have to get an Act of Parliament to enable you to marry again, and it would cost you (if it was a case of very plain-sailing), I suppose from a thousand to fifteen hundred pound,” said Mr. Bounderby. “Perhaps twice the money.”
“There’s no other law?”
“Certainly not.” (Hard Times 82-83)
When Stephen Blackpool comes to know that it will be impossible for him to get a divorce from his wife in order to marry Rachel, he repels his desire to marry her by excluding it from his consciousness and subduing it in his unconscious. This kind of defence mechanism refers to ‘Repression’.
Sigmund Freud defines transference to be a phenomenon which involves the unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to the other. These feelings from the past are born out of the repressed experiences in the childhood of an individual which are expressed toward a new object. In Hard Times, Sissy Jupe is the daughter of a horse-riding circus entertainer who as a child is extremely devoted to her father. She attends the school run by Thomas Gradgrind. She is a simple, lovable, emotional and compassionate girl who indulges in romantic, imaginative fancy. She is the only child in the school who does not follow Thomas Gradgrind’s philosophy of facts. Unfortunately, she is abruptly abandoned by her father who is ashamed of the fact that he has lost his ability as a performer. It is a shock for her but she believes that one day her father will come back for her and would be happy to see her living with the Gradgrinds. Sissy Jupe is adopted by Thomas Gradgrind’s family and she becomes a pillar of support for the Gradgrinds and provides them succour during the tempestuous times. Sissy Jupe becomes devoted to Mrs. Gradgrind, takes care of Mrs. Gradgrind and lavishes her love, care and compassion on her as she used to do on her father thereby displaying transference. She redirects her love and compassion for her father which she has repressed as a result of her separation from him towards Mrs. Gradgrind. Louisa Gradgrind observes this truth and convinces Sissy regarding her value when she feels depressed for being stupid as she is unable to learn the facts well in school and be like Louisa: “‘You are more useful to my mother, and more pleasant with her than I can ever be,’ Louisa resumed. ‘You are pleasanter to yourself, than I am to myself (Hard Times 66).
A similar kind of transference is exhibited by Sissy Jupe when she redirects her repressed love, care and compassion on Jane Gradgrind, the younger sister of Louisa, as a result she is a happy individual unlike Louisa. The happiness in Jane is reflected on her face and Louisa remarks:
“What a beaming face you have, Jane!” said Louisa, as her young sister-timidly still-bend down to kiss her. (Hard Times 215)
Jane explains to Louisa that her happiness is a result of Sissy’s love, care and compassion:
“Have I? I am very glad you think so. I am sure it must be Sissy’s doing.”
(Hard Times 215)
Similarly, Sissy Jupe displays transference by redirecting her love, care and compassion towards Louisa when she is in need of it. Louisa’s marriage with Josiah Bounderby who is more interested in money and power is on the rocks but she has held herself back from the temptation of giving in to James Harthouse’s seduction and his insinuations leading to the manipulation of her emotions. She is emotionally shattered and blames her predicament on Thomas Gradgrind’s faulty education with it’s over emphasis on facts and its neglect towards the cultivation of emotions and imaginative fancy. Louisa experiences a nervous breakdown and even her father Thomas Gradgrind was not able to help her. During those turbulent times Sissy Jupe is the only individual who takes care of her, provides emotional support to her and nurses her back to health thereby saving her from the brink of disaster. Jane tells Louisa that Sissy is the one who has brought her there and is nursing her when she is questioned by Louisa:
“When was I brought to this room?”
“Last night, Louisa.”
“Who brought me here?”
“Sissy, I believe.”
“Why do you believe so?”
“Because I found her here this morning. She didn’t come to my bedside to wake me, as she always does; and I went to look for her. She was not in her own room either; and I went looking for her all over the house, until I found her here, taking care of you and cooling your head. Will you see father? Sissy said I was to tell him when you woke.” (Hard Times 215)
Louisa Gradgrind too exhibits transference as the faulty education based on facts and calculations in her childhood and the dictates of her father Thomas Gradgrind to disregard emotions and imaginative fancy has made her an alien to the emotions that exist within her and she is unable to experience them. The repression of her emotions in her childhood has turned her into a stone. Thus the house in which she lives with her family is aptly called the ‘Stone Lodge’. The individual on whom Louisa redirects her unconscious and repressed feelings is her brother Tom Gradgrind. Louisa contracts a loveless marriage with Josiah Bounderby who is double her age so that Louisa can live together with Tom and also become his best defence against Bounderby’s authority in the bank where he works with him as an apprentice. Later when her marriage flounders she accepts the fact in front of her father that she made a sacrifice for Tom, her only object of tenderness and concern, by marrying Bounderby.
“And I so young. In this condition, father-for I show you now, without fear or favour, the ordinary deadened state of my mind as I know it – you proposed my husband to me. I took him. I knew, and, father, you knew, and he knew, that I never did. I was not wholly indifferent, for I had a hope of being pleasant and useful to Tom. I made that wild escape into something visionary, and have slowly found out how wild it was. But Tom had been the subject of all the little tenderness of my life; perhaps he became so because I knew so well how to pity him. It matters little now, except as it may dispose you to think more leniently of his errors.” (Hard Times 212)
R.A. Gardener in The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome (2006) defines ‘Parentification’ as a process of role reversal where the child becomes a parent to his/her own parent (200). Gregory J. Jurkovic in “Destructive Parentification in Families” published in Family Psychopathology (1998) states that the two main types of ‘Parentification’ are: (1) ‘Instrumental Parentification’ where the child takes care of the physical tasks of the family such as tending to a sick parent/family member, paying bills and taking care of the younger siblings; and (2) ‘Emotional Parentification’ where the child or adolescent becomes the confidant or mediator of/between the parents or other family members (237-255). In the novel, Sissy Jupe is shown to be a parentified child as in her childhood she is shown to take care of her father who is a circus entertainer. She is shown to be buying oil in order to relieve her father of the aches and pains. Thus she comes out to be an agent of ‘Instrumental Parentification’.
“Now, girl,” said Mr. Gradgrind, “take this gentleman and me to your father’s; we are going there. What have you got in that bottle you are carrying?”
“Gin,” said Mr. Bounderby.
“Dear, no sir! It’s the nine oils.”
“The what?” cried Mr. Bounderby .
“The nine oils, sir. To rub father with.”
Then said Mr. Bounderby, with a loud, short laugh, “What the devil do you rub with nine oils for?”
“It’s what our people always use, sir, when they get any hurts in the ring,” replied the girl, looking over her shoulder, to assure herself that her pursuer was gone.
“They bruise themselves very bad sometimes.” (Hard Times 38)
Louisa Gradgrind is shown to be an agent of ‘Emotional Parentification’ as she is a parentified adolescent who becomes a protector of her younger sibling Tom and also becomes a mediator between Tom and others when there is a problem related to Tom. When both Louisa and Tom go and peep into a circus tent where a performance is being staged to watch the imaginative entertainment they disobey the dictates of Thomas Gradgrind, their father, whose aim is to raise them on the philosophy of facts and pragmatism. This incident makes Mr. Gradgrind furious and he takes them to task. But being a protector of Tom, Louisa comes to his rescue and takes the blame on herself. Mr. Gradgrind says:
“Thomas, though I have the facts before me, I find it difficult to believe that you, with your education and resources, should have brought your sister to a scene like this.”
“I brought him, father,” said Louisa quickly. “I asked him to come.”
“I am sorry to hear it. I am very sorry indeed to hear it. It makes Thomas no better, and it makes you worse, Louisa.” (Hard Times 25-26)
Gregory J. Jurkovic in “Destructive Parentification in Families” published in Family Psychopathology (1998) defines ‘Narcissistic Parentification’ as the process of a child taking up the idealized role of a parent which induces a kind of compulsive perfectionism in the child and in turn hinders his/her natural development (246-247). Thomas Gradgrind wants his children to be pragmatic and rational, to over emphasize facts and to disregard emotions and fancy because he himself has followed this principle all throughout his life. His ideology is imposed on his children as a result Louisa takes on the idealized projection of her father and is unable to realize her emotions as they have become dormant and fossilized within her. In the novel, when Louisa and Tom are caught by Thomas Gradgrind peeping into the circus tent he is furious and scolds them severely but Louisa does not show any emotions in the face of the scolding. The author describes Louisa’s reaction towards her father’s scolding to be devoid of any emotions, “She looked at her father again, but no tear fell down her cheek” (Hard Times 26).
The advantages of parentification are psychological resilience, individuation (a clear sense of self) and secure attachment styles in later life that is during adulthood. In the novel, the advantages of parentification are highlighted by Sissy Jupe as she shows the ability of being self-reliant. She is able to adapt to her circumstances when her father leaves her abruptly without informing her about his whereabouts although the news comes as a shock to her. Mr. Gradgrind takes her in to live with his family in Stone Lodge but being an optimist she lives with the belief that her father will one day come back to her. When she leaves with Thomas Gradgrind and Josiah Bounderby all the people of the circus bade her farewell. The riding-master Mr. Sleary observes the bottle containing the oil that Sissy is carrying and tells her to give it to him as her father has left her and it will be of no use to her. Sissy tells him:
“No, no!” she said, in another burst of tears. “Oh no! Pray let me keep it for father till he comes back. He will want it when he comes back. He had never thought, of going away, when he sent me for it. I must keep it for him, if you please!”
(Hard Times 52)
Sissy has a clear sense of self which becomes evident when she is able to maintain her emotions and imaginative fancy despite living in Stone Lodge amidst people who lead their lives based on the philosophy of facts and pragmatism. When Sissy is taken in by Mr. Gradgrind she does not do well at school and she is unable to adopt the devotion to cold, hard facts but clings to emotions and fanciful notions which Mr. Gradgrind thinks to be ridiculous. Sissy refuses to accept the cold, hard fact that her father is an unnatural vagabond. She still clings to the fanciful notion that her father has not deserted her: “The girl believed that her father had not deserted her; she lived in the hope that he would come back, and in the faith that he would be made the happier by her remaining where she was” (Hard Times 65)
Sissy forms stable and secure relationships both within and without the Gradgrind family as a result of her caring and lovable nature. Sissy Jupe provides emotional support to Rachel when Stephen Blackpool goes missing and there is no news about him:
Day and night again, day and night again. No Stephen Blackpool. Where was the man, and why did he not come back?
Every night Sissy went to Rachel’s lodging, and sat with her in her small, neat room. (Hard Times 247)
The disadvantages of parentification are parentified children have to struggle with unacknowledged anger and resentment, are unable to trust their peers and are unable to form and maintain romantic relationships. Louisa Gradgrind represents all the disadvantages of parentification. She shows unacknowledged anger and resentment against her father whose philosophy of facts had made her incapable of realizing emotions that lay dormant within her. Louisa has no confidant and she is unable to share her feelings with her peers. When Louisa expresses her unacknowledged anger and resentment to her father but is unable to communicate the exact nature of her problem. She tells her father:
“I was tired, father. I have been tired a long time,” said Louisa.
“Tired? Of what?” asked the astonished father.
“I don’t know of what – of everything, I think.” (Hard Times 26)
When Louisa’s marriage flounders and she is on the verge of being seduced by James Harthouse she blames her predicament on her father’s education based on facts, reason and pragmatism which has throttled her emotions. She tells her father:
“Father, you have trained me from my cradle.”
“I curse the hour in which I was born to such a destiny.”
He looked at her in doubt and dread, vacantly repeating, “Curse the hour? Curse the hour?”
“How could you give me life, and take from me all the inappreciable things that raise it from the state of conscious death? Where are the graces of my soul? Where are the sentiments of my heart? What have you done, O father, what have you done, with the garden that should have bloomed once, in this great wilderness here!”
(Hard Times 210-211)
Louisa is unable to form and maintain romantic relationships as a result she contracts a loveless marriage and is also unable to experience any emotion for James Harthouse even when he professes love to her. She tells her father that she has never loved her husband and she has not pretended to love him.
“â€¦I never made a pretence to him or you that I loved him. I knew, and, father, you knew, and he knew, that I never didâ€¦” (Hard Times 212)
Louisa expresses to her father her inability to know her own feelings towards James Harthouse who claims to be her lover.
“I have done no worse, I have not disgraced you. But if you ask me whether I have loved him, or do love him, I tell you plainly, father, that it may be so. I don’t know!” (Hard Times 213)
Sigmund Freud states that the artists possess special abilities which help them to shift their instinctual sexual and nonsexual drives to “higher goals” (Abrams 265) such as becoming a proficient artist. This “ability gives the artist an opportunity to elaborate the fantasied wish-fulfilments into the manifest features of a work of art in a way that conceals or deletes their personal elements, and so makes them capable of satisfying the unconscious desires of people other than the individual artist; and a ‘puzzling’ ability – which Freud elsewhere says is a power of ‘genius’ that psychoanalysis cannot explain – to mold the artistic medium into ‘a faithful image of the creatures of his imagination,” as well as into a satisfying artistic form” (Abrams 265). The artistic product is a fantasied wish-fulfilment which helps the artist to overcome conflicts and repressions and provides solace or consolation to the readers from their own sources of gratification which had become inaccessible to them. “Literature and art, therefore, unlike dreams and neuroses, may serve the artist as a mode of fantasy that opens ‘the way back to reality'” (Abrams 265). Charles Dickens in his novel Hard Times presents a scathing critique of the Industrial Revolution in England. When he was a child he had been sent to work in a blacking factory as his father John Dickens was in the debtors’ prison of the Marshalsea and Mrs. Dickens with her four children had to join her husband in the prison. The author’s days spent working in the blacking factory where he had to stick labels on pots of paste-blacking for six shillings were days of utter misery, humiliation and despair for him. This experience in his childhood had a profound impact on his psyche which made him paint a very gloomy and depressing picture of the Industrial Revolution in his novels which he wrote in his adulthood. The author’s description of the town of Coketown shows the ill effects of Industrial Revolution:
It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but, as matters stood, it was a town of unnatural red and black, like the painted face of a savage. It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, and vast piles of building full of windows where there was a rattling and a trembling all day long, and where the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness. It contained several large streets all very like one another, and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours, with the same sound upon the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day was the same as yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and the next. (Hard Times 34)
Since Charles Dickens himself had worked in a factory he was well aware of the condition of the hands there and he also sympathized with them. His description of the hands working in the factories of Coketown is bleak and gloomy. He shows these hands to have been dehumanized, their identity to have been effaced and leading a hard life. Stephen Blackpool is such a hand in Bounderby’s factory.
In the hardest working part of Coketown, in the innermost fortifications of that ugly citadel, where Nature was as strongly bricked out as killing airs and gases were bricked in, at the heart of the labyrinth of narrow courts upon courts, and close streets upon streets, which had come into existence piecemeal, every piece in a violent hurry for some one man’s purpose, and the whole an unnatural family, shouldering, and trampling, and pressing one another to death; in the last close nook of this great exhausted receiver, where the chimneys, for want of air to make a draught, were built in an immense variety of stunted and crooked shapes, as though every house put out a sign of the kind of people who might be expected to be born in it; among the multitude of Coketown, generically called “the hands” – a race who would have found more favour with some people, if Providence had seen fit to make them only hands, or, like the lower creatures of the seashore, only hands and stomachs – lived a certain Stephen Blackpool, forty years of age.
Stephen looked older, but he had had a hard life. (Hard Times 72)
In the novel, Charles Dickens expresses the idea that both emotions and i
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