Stephen Blackpool And Other Characters

hard-timesWe meet Stephen Blackpool and two women in his life: sweet Rachael and some unnamed hag–but given his age (40), her familiarity (she’s in his bedroom), and that they know each other well, I bet they’re married to each other.

You may not recognize the other characters at first: ‘In the hardest working part of Coketown; in the innermost fortifications of that ugly citadel, where Nature was as strongly bricked out as killing airs and gases were bricked in; at the heart of the labyrinth of narrow courts upon courts, and close streets upon streets, which had come into existence piecemeal, every piece in a violent hurry for some one man’s purpose, and the whole an unnatural family, shouldering, and trampling, and pressing one another to death; in the last close nook of this great exhausted receiver, where the chimneys, for want of air to make a draught, were built in an immense variety of stunted and crooked shapes….’ And… ‘The Fairy palaces burst into illumination, before pale morning showed the monstrous serpents of smoke trailing themselves over Coketown…. All the melancholy mad elephants, polished and oiled up for the day’s monotony, were at their heavy exercise again.’ The other characters are the dwellings, the factories, and the city itself.

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