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Hard Times Essay

1135 words - 5 pages

The industrial revolution was a time of great technological changes. It revolutionised everything, from the way people lived to where they worked, but what society often overlooked was how ordinary people went through their day to day lives. In the book ‘Hard Times’, Charles Dickens has produced some exceptional characters to represent the complexity of each social class. From the arrogance of aristocracy to the struggle of the common workers, and the way in which they cope with the many hardships they will endure.

Charles Dickens was able to personify the different social classes. The real reason why Charles Dickens wrote Hard Times was because he was low on funds, this was due to his ...view middle of the document...

However, rather than presenting a historically accurate picture of the extraordinary changes brought about by the industrial revolution, is a one-sided attack on the utilitarian value system of the middle 19th century based upon emotional blue-collar appeals for labour sympathy that are not uncommon in today’s corporate environment.

Josiah Bounderby of coke town represents the utilitarian attitude and, as such, is the villain of the story and clearly the target of Charles dickens political argument. Charles dickens characterises Bounderby as a powerful individual, driven by greed and guided by a distorted view of human nature.

Furthermore, Hard times was serialised, every week, between April 1 as well as August 12, 1854. It sold well, and a complete volume was published in August totalling 110,000 words. The book is now almost forgotten, part of the reason for this is its lack of popularity now is that it has no humour or characterisation that dickens is famed for.

In addition, Dickens complained about the close condensation that was necessary for that disjointed form of publication, giving him a great deal of trouble, when having to reduce and shorten the passages of his novel. Although they are normally longer with more commentary and description, Dickens had to keep the book moving whilst developing themes, yet he had to keep the reader keen to carry on reading the next part of the story.

As a result, the book was split into three titles, Sowing, Reaping, along with Garnering. The reason this was done was to give the Victorian readers biblical warnings, concerning the consequences of foolish behaviour, in addition to contrasting between agriculture and Coketown’s industrial era. However, Dickens work showed how careful plotting was used to connect nearly all the characters near the end of the book, this is achieved through scheming, crime as in Toms robbery of the bank, by implications, and help such as sissy hideing tom in the circus. Hard times is used to make moral points through the characters, For example, the misery Gradgrind reaps, or the plea for mercy rejected by his star pupil Bitzer, by quoting Gradgrinds own theories back to him.

Consequently, in Hard times Charles dickens lets us take a look at the bourgeoise of his time. The middleclass characters are looked at from a singular perspective, they are seen from the perspective of the individuals from the bottom of...

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