How may one apply a pattern of "retributive justice" to the principal characters in Hard Times?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One way in which this could be achieved would be to look at the way in which characters seem to get what they deserve or what they have always wanted, with often tragic consequences. This is particularly the case with Thomas Gradgrind, who after spending so long making sure that his two children receive an education that is based on facts alone and no fancy or imagination, suddenly has to face the fact that he has been actually too successful and has produced a daughter who is incapable of forming affectionate relationships with anybody and a son who is a failure. He receives retributive justice in this sense.

Another good character to look at would be Bounderby, who dies on a street in Coketown alone and friendless. He is another character who seems to get the ending that his characteristics pointed towards. His greed and exploitation of the "hands" as he refers to them and the constant fiction that accompanies his own justification of exploiting others is exposed as a sham and a pretense.

Therefore, thinking about these two examples, it is possible to argue that characters may not get what they deserve always, but they certainly do get their just desserts based on the way that they have lived their lives and how they have to face the consequences of their actions.


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