Hard Times written by Charles Dickens has themes of morality, importance of fellowship and sharing, irreparability of human action, childhood and money. The novel which is set up in fictitious Victorian industrial Coketown,, assesses industrialization and the effect it had on people The ill effects of Victorian Utilitarianism are seen in the novel, through two of its characters, Thomas Gradgrind and Josiah Bounderby. he sleary circus in Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times is full of life, color, and character which is in sharp contrast to the bleak and gray industrial setting of Coketown, the modernist mentality represented by Bounderby and Gradgrind’s modernist attitude, characterized by brazen materialism, selfishness, and pure rationality , the circus workers are imaginative and free; the factory workers of Coketown , on the other hand, are drones who drudge all day long.
Similarly, the circus performers demonstrate a cooperative, communal, and compassionate attitude, whereas the industrialists signify widespread individualism, greed, and self-centeredness. The circus represents a diversion from the mundane, a realm of pure imagination, whereas the factories of Coketown are nothing but mundane and are entirely lacking in imagination.
Sleary’s Circus is the “Life –giving’’ anti-thesis of Gradgrind’s abr]stract themes of ecucation and life and utilitarian world guided by materialistic pursuits. he novel explores arenas dealing with destructive forces of industrial revolution to confine human imagination with great adeptness through the Sleary circus The circus is cathartic and celebrates spontaneity and enjoyment. The world of the circus is a wonderful combination of unbridled freedom and amazing feats of control achieved by people .
Sleary’s people are shown by Dickens as leading lives which go against everything which Gradgrind represents. e and his circus stand for a freedom and generosity of mind, for the truth of natural feelings, the more important because of the conditions in which Coketown, the social and economic expression of Gradgrind’s values, exists. They are shown as people with a life of freedom, not constrained by the rigid set laws and hard facts which Gradgrind’s philosophy is based upon.
Not only just the physical freedom to roam the countryside almost at will, where Gradgrind is tied to Coketown. But also a mental freedom to enjoy life to the full with all it’s pontaneity, unconditional emotions, imagination, failings, shortcomings and passions. They possessed freedom of thought as well as movement. They had no boundaries and travelled to new places. Dickens has put forward the idea of joint family based on trust through Sleary Circus where ‘’the father of one of the families was in the habit of balancing the father of another of the families on the top of a great pole. ’’ Sleary’s circus which is a counterpoint to coketown , The individuals of the circus society come together and behave like a loyal family.
The whole group interacts as an extended family, which is stressed when Sleary explains to Sissy the advantages of staying with the troupe As Richard Fabrizio puts it right in his essay “Wonderful No-Meaning : Language and Psychopathology Of Family in Hard Times”, Only the circus family is uninhibited by the mores that blind and distort reality and thus psychic condition of all others. Circus families live, at least metaphorically, in extended or multiple families.
The way in which the horse riding takes on its importance, skillfully illustrates the poetic-dramatic nature of Dickens’s art. The presence of the circus group finds the first mention in the chapter “A Loophole”, where Mr. Gradgrind drags his children away from the apparently destructive influence of the sight of a circus. The initial descriptions potray the circus people as representations of human spontaneity, buoyancy and aplomb. Though, Their skills hold no value for the utilitarian calculus, but they express fundamental human needs.
Mr. Sleary, the owner of the Sleary’s Circus had a holistic vision and believed in maintaining a balance between the heart and the mind which was in sharp contrast to the utilitarian mindset of the people living in Coketown. It is Sleary who realises that people must be “amuthed” (amused), if they are to remain human. which also is The novel’s takeaway message.. Moreover, In Hard Times Dickens uses the character of Sleary, proprietor of Sleary’s Circus, to expose his views on the right of the common man to simple amusements.
Sissy Jupe, another member of the colourful and vibrant circus family, reckoned on the power of imagination and could not understand the Gradgrind system of facts and figures. She believed in educating the heart and not the head. Besides being a romantic image in the novel, Sissy also becomes a representative of all values of humanism and a figure of Christian redemption. In the end, her innocence defeats Harthouse’s sensuality in the same way as she had neglected the hard-heartedness of Gradgrind.
Moreover, the Sleary’s Circus ,especially Sissy’s non-traditional family, signifies regress because it Wins over the Gradgrind system The circus, is both a metaphor in itself and the novel’s major symbol of fancy, the metaphor-making faculty as put by Catherine Gallacher in the essay-Spcoierty and family in hard times critic Louis James describes, “Dickens’s championing of Sleary’s magical circus against the schoolroom in Hard Times is a paradigm of his contribution to the social novel:he transformed “facts” through the entertainment of the imagination, making the reader see social reality in a new light. Despite the fact that Sleary’s Horse-Riders, were regarded as a a set of dangerous vagabonds, by Mr. Gradgrind . Although Sleary’s circus initially represents everything Gradgrind eschews: irrationality and fancy, eventually he comes to appreciate and embrace the nontraditional and nonconformist circus lifestyle and philosophy. Tom’s Escapes were guided by animals of the SLeary circus.
With the help of a trained horse and the dog, Merrylegs, the Sleary company sends Tom off to Liverpool Horse becomes a symbol of actual kindness which defeats bitzer’s facts Bitzer was outwitted by horse which represents triumph of nature Gradgrind and son become dependent on power of the circuws. reason is defied/far away frm facts. \Moreover The despised world of fantasy and fairy tale finally routs the world of fact to send Tom safely off to a new world. Some humanity, found in the wonders and magic of Sleary’s circus and The fact that Animal world has forgiveness is put forward in the novel
Therefore, Sleary’s circus serves an important role juxtaposing industrialism and romanticism in Hard Times, representing social and political philosophies that are directly antagonistic to modernization Since for Dickens the development of the soul is the great achievement of the child ‘ Sleary’s Circus provides a perfect environment for the educational process Moreover,In the end The perfectly designed Gradgrind school cannot expect to compete with “Sleary’s Horse-riding” as an educational institution. To specific characters in Hard Times, Sleary’s circus symbolizes several different and often conflicting ideas.
For Tom and Louisa, and eventually for Gradgrind, Sleary’s circus is a bastion of hope and a means of salvation in a cruel and oppressive world. Through the sleary circus ,which is circus is the repository of human fellowship, emotional security and imaginative vitality Dickens campaigns for the importance of imagination in life, and not for people’s life to be reduced to a collection of material facts and statistical analyses If this impulse toward what Dickens calls “fancy” is ignored, it transforms into harmful self-justification, destructive myth-making, and unethical deception
Cite this Sleary’s Circus
Sleary’s Circus. (2016, Oct 02). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/slearys-circus/