Hard Times

Love versus Reality in Charles Dickens' Hard Times

In Hard Times, Charles Dickens uses the character of Signor Jupe to portray the clash between love and reality. Signor Jupe reveals his philosophy of love as a meaningful force through his actions at the start of the novel. By accepting responsiblity for the formative years of his daughter's life, he positions her as a stark contrast to the children subjected to the Gradgrind system. Although he never appears in the novel as a physical presence, it is this very lack of presence that allows him to emphasize the theme of love versus reality.

Signor Jupe exists in the novel only as an idea; yet he is a character who, without the use of dialogue or direct action, profoundly embodies one of the major themes of the book. The philosophy of love as a meaningful and moving force in human affairs is strengthened by his actions in the early chapters of the novel; specifically, when he leaves Sissy on her own. Sissy holds strongly to the idea that Signor Jupe left her in order to provide her with a better future - that he saw her witnessing his slow deterioration, and left to spare her that pain. She also obviously believes that he will return to her in the future. Gradgrind states "that if [Sissy] had been properly trained from...

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