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The novel Hard Times written by Charles Dickens is a reflection of the evolving ideas prevalent during his time Dickens characters especially are personifications of changing ideas in psychology and political thought Each one of his characters symbolizes a different belief and its association to society Both Stephen Blackpool and Thomas Gradgrind Jr particularly characterize ideas of notable philosophers around the time of Dickens Blackpool portrays the abused worker suffering under capitalism as expressed by Karl Marx Thomas Gradgrind Jr is Freuds notion of our desire to rebel against an extreme which often leads to intoxicating substances and our conscience and the subsequent feelings of guilt and remorse we experience because of itStephen Blackpool represents the oppressed working class of the 19th century in Dickens novel Hard Times He is portrayed as an honest hard-working power-loom weaver employed by the factory owner and proclaimed self-made man Josiah Bounderby Through the course of the plot Blackpool is found to have suffered many trials in life including a marriage to a drunk and the unfortunate love of a woman he cannot marry He is even shunned and despised by his own class because of his refusal to join a union with his fellow factory employees due to his belief that the trade union agitator is a false prophet Eventually he defends the workers against harsh words spoken by Bounderby about them and ends up losing his job for that In Book Three of Hard Times Blackpool is accused of a crime he did not commit but is unable to prove his innocence except in asking Gradgrind to clear his name These are among his last words and he dies soon after Through it all though Blackpool is a moral sensitive man holding no contempt against those who have wronged him These struggles Blackpool confronts in Dickens novel exemplify the ideas of Marx Blackpool is Marxs personification of the corruption of the worker by capitalism Blackpool is the
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