In Hard Times, how does Dickens develop a contrast between the opposing values of the circus to that of ulitarianism?

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You might want to start considering this question by analysing Chapter Six, "Sleary's Horsemanship," and comparing it with the rest of the novel up unto this point. It is in this chapter that we see the world of the circus, or the world of fancy and the imagination that Sissy Jupe inhabits. What indicates that this chapter presents us with a strong contrast is the name of the inn where the circus folk are staying. Having had a pointed lesson on the precise definition of a horse, we are know visiting the Pegasus's Arms. Having told Sissy Jupe firmly that we do not cover our walls or houses with pictures of imaginary horses, Mr. Gradgrind is confronted with exactly this:

Framed and glazed upon the wall behind the dingy little bar, was another Pegasus--a theatrical one--with real gauze let in for his wings, golden stars stuck on all over him, and his ethereal harness made of red silk.

Having told Louisa in Chapter Five that she must "never wonder," we are suddenly plunged into the world of fantasy and imagination that stands for everything that Mr. Gradgrind is against. The strange assortment of entertainers we are presented with are able to magically transform the monotonous world in which they live into a place of mystery and magic by the simple use of their imaginations. You might want to consider how Kidderminster fulfils this role. In reality, he is an angry, mischievous young boy, but in his role as Cupid, he pleases the spectators and is very adorable:

Made up with curls, wreaths, wings, white bismuth, and carmine, this hopeful young person soared into so pleasing a Cupid as to constitute the chief delight of the maternal part of the spectators; but, in private, where his characteristics were a precocious cutaway coat and an extremely gruff voice, he became of the Turf, turfy.

Through exercising their imaginations, the circus performers please others and themselves, in stark contrast to the grey and solemn existence of Louisa.

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