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Hard Times Charles Dickens - Mary Turner GHUM 200 Sec 2 30...

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Mary Turner GHUM 200 Sec. 2 30 October 2007 Fact vs. Fantasy: Evidence in Hard Times Sam Levenson once said, “One of the virtues of being very young is that you don't let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” Childhood is often regarded as being the only true time in life when a person isn’t bombarded with stress, responsibilities, and expectations. Children may prefer to use their imagination and play make-believe, instead of going through or studying encyclopedias and textbooks, for fun. Childhood is also an important time in developing one’s future personality and character. The way a child is brought up tells a lot about whether they will be outgoing, charismatic, shy, or reserved. Childhood characteristics such as vivid imagination, innocence, and playfulness can also linger into adulthood. Having some childlike qualities, most importantly innocence, as an adult can sometimes be positive in times of stress and sadness. Innocence allows for adults to relax from responsibilities and regain the freedom once felt as a child. Charles Dickens shows this idea in Hard Times with a comparison of children with the Circus people and the factory Hands. The main idea of Hard Times is that while facts are most important in developing the mind, they are no help at all when developing one’s character. Hard Times can be described as a portrayal of self-discovery. The characters, especially Louisa, travel down a twisted road of fact and fantasy. The novel begins with an emphasis on the importance of teaching only facts to children. There is a lack of imagination, emotion, and especially, love. By the end of the novel, many of the
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characters, including Louisa and her father, Mr. Gradgrind will eventually realize how much they need these feelings in their lives. Charles Dickens emphasizes the importance of having a loving childhood and of having an imagination throughout life. If a person lacks all other emotions and feelings, they should at least, as Dickens says, have an imagination and the ability to “wonder”. In one instance, Mr. Sleary, the owner and horse-rider in the traveling circus, talks to Sissy, the daughter of the circus’s failed clown, before she leaves to live with the Gradgrinds. He states: “People must be [amused], [Squire], [somehow]” and continues on saying “they can’t be [always] a working, nor yet they can’t be [always] a learning” (53). What is meant is that people cannot live to work, they should work to live. There is more to life than working a job or learning facts; their must be entertainment, laughter, and fantasy. People should carry a piece of their childhoods, of fantasy, with them throughout life in order to not fall prey to dullness. The importance of wondering and having doubt is also emphasized by Dickens.
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