Charles Dickens and Mark Twain’s lessons
Writers can not only entertain their readers by telling an appealing story, but they can also educate the readers and open their minds. Charles Dickens and Mark Twain are both very famous and important writers. Although Dickens is British and Twain American, they had the same purpose with their writing. They both wrote novels that made stories appealing to the common man as well as to educate people. A comparison of the two novels Hard times by Charles Dickens and The adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain can show that although both writers lived in different societies they shared the same point of views about life and used their writing to educate their readers and change their societies positively.
Both books satirise individuals who think that they are superior to others, by doing this the writers want to show their readers that this is a wrong thing to do. In The adventures of Huckleberry Finn the general southern public is satirised, as they are mostly portrayed as ignorant, prejudiced individuals. In their society, whites are seen as the superior race, and blacks are owned as property, and are slaves to common folk. The word ”Nigger” is used multiple times in the story, as to stress their ignorance. It is illegal for blacks to get proper education, so in no way could they rise up, and seemingly be forever oppressed. This is shown as Jim, a black slave is constantly called a Nigger, even by Huckleberry, who is the only character in the book that treats Jim as a person. In Hardtimes the arrogance of the upper classes is satirised. The characters Mrs. Sparsit and James Harthouse represent the upper class in the novel. Mrs. Sparsit clings fiercely to her heritage and faded glamour. She is arrogant to those beneath her and despises the efforts of the workers to organize a union. Harthouse is revealed as cynical and directionless. He seduces Louisa, one of the important characters and treats this as a division, without thinking of the consequences of his actions.
In both stories the conflict of the wisdom of the heart and the wisdom of the head is brought out to show people that they sometimes have to let their heart guide them. In Hardtimes, Gradgrind represents the wisdom of the head. His philosophy is utilitarianism. This philosophy is based on scientific laws that d…
…nce between Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. They both were against unequal treatment between people. In Mark Twain’s case the inequality between black and white in America and in Charles Dickens case the inequality between the different social classes in England. They both believed that people essentially have good hearts but are distracted from what their good hearts tell them by their heads which are filled by society with wrong philosophies. In Hard Times the wrong philosophy is utilitarianism and in The adventures of Huckleberry Finn it is the philosophy that whites are superior to blacks and that blacks are thus their property. Mark Twain and Charles Dickens were both against abusive societies that made the lives of people a struggle. They both lived in such societies and wanted to change this. They dreamt of an idealistic society where people are equal and listen to their good hearts and used their writing skills and wrote novels like Hard Times and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to educate people.
Dickens, Charles. Hard Times. London: Penguin books, 1995.
Twain, Mark. The adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: W. W. Norton & Company inc. 1990.