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Industrialization In "Hard Times" By Charles Dickens

1763 words - 8 pages

The industrial revolution was an era of mechanization. During this era, in 1854, Charles Dickens (1812-1870) wrote Hard Times to comment upon the change within society and its effect on its people. “Dickens points out the flaws and limitations of this new society in his eloquent and passionate plea on behalf of the working poor” (Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, 2000). The novel shows presents to readers the author’s perspective of life during the nineteenth century and makes comments on the central theme of fact versus fancy. Due to this theme, the novel ends with many characters realising that a person needs more than just fact in their life. The novel examines the ...view middle of the document...

Through Mr Gradgrind, Dickens ridicules the system and it is evident that Dickens disagrees with it.Tom is a product of the utilitarian system and Dickens uses him to convey his own opinions of the system. Tom was brought up by his father under a system that allowed room for “nothing but fact” (p47). He was not exposed to any emotion and as a result he did not develop any decent morals. He was taught to value fact alone whilst remaining ignorant of compassion. His callous nature is evident when he positions Steven Blackpool to be falsely accused of robbing the bank. Tom instructs Steven to “just hang about the bank an hour or so” (p191) and soon afterwards Tom goes ahead with the robbery. As a result of Tom’s instructions, the citizens blame Steven for robbing the bank as he was seen hanging about the bank just before the robbery. This incident reveals Tom’s deceitful nature due to the fact he is mercilessly able to let his fellow worker take the blame for his crime. It also signifies that even thought Tom was brought up in a system that was believed to be infallible; this utilitarian system did not teach him other more important things such as how to be a good person. Another example that reveals Toms cunningness is when Tom decides to visit Louisa after having ignored her for a long period of time. The only reason Tom does this is because he is aware that Mr Bounderby has proposed to Louisa and he wants to ensure that she accepts his proposal as this will increase his earnings at Mr Bounderby’s bank. Tom says to Louisa “Has father said anything particular to you, today or yesterday, Loo?” then “her brother glanced at her face with greater interest than usual, and, encircling her waist with his arm, drew her coaxingly to him” (p130). The way Tom treats Louisa indicates that he only shows interest in his sister when he has something to gain from it. His actions are manipulative when he “coaxingly” brings her towards him. This shows that, even though Tom has been provided with what was believed to be the finest education, ad has learnt every “Ology”, he is still extremely selfish and uses people to his own will and benefit. Tom has turned out to be a very corrupt man and, being a product of the utilitarian system, Dickens uses Tom to declare that this system does not work.Dickens portrays the idea that the utilitarian system has drained all the goodness of human nature through the symbolic description of Sissy and Bitzer within Hard Times. For example, when Sissy and Bitzer are introduced to the reader, it is evident through the symbolism used that Dickens favours Sissy, of the lower class.“The girl was so dark eyed and dark haired, that she seemed to receive a deeper and more lustrous colour from the sun when it shone upon her, the boy was so light eyed and light haired that the self-same rays appeared to draw out of him what little colour he ever possessed”...

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