Hard Times by Charles Dickens Outline I. Introduction. 1) Hard Times is essentially a didactic satire upon the Victorian social, industrial and educational systems. 2) Charles Dickens wrote Hard Times in 1854. 3) Dickens illustrates his condemnation of Victorian England through number of examples. II. Body 1) Dickens offers a wide range of characters from the upper class factory owner to the lowest class factory workers.
2) Bounderbys values and attitudes are indicative of the era of the industrial revolution. 3) Direct criticism of the mill-owners is in Book 2, Chapter 1. 4) Stephen Blackpools opinion on direct criticism of the factory and mill-owners. 5) Stephen shows how, despite the destructive nature of industry, individuality amongst the Hands can be achieved with a struggle. 6) My second chosen episode is about the overwhelming presence of industry, The Key Note of Hard Times. 7) Coketown is described as unnatural and in the hardest working part of Coketown. 8) Dickens makes religion and the absence of it a key issue in Hard Times using a tripartheid structure in the book, representing the holy trinity.
9) The industrialization revolution brought many problems to Victorian England in the 1850s. 10) Hard Times illustrates the history of class struggles and is re-enforced by the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The Communist Manifesto. 11) Dickens was also interested in factory safety and the negligence of the factory and mine owners. 12) During the period in which Hard Times was conceived and written, a topic frequently brought to Dickens’ attention was that of a bitterly-contested strike. 13) Dickens shows the ruthlessness of Bounderby by firing Blackpool even after he is summoned to the owner’s home to explain about the Combination (union).
... the factories. Much of Hard Times is devoted to pointing out how the middle classes ignore the poor. Perhaps, then, Dickens is ... , sensitive, morally pure, and generous. She represents the Victorian ideal of femininity. Because of these qualities, Stephen frequently ... Louisa marries Gradgrind’s friend Josiah Bounderby, a wealthy factory owner and banker more than twice her age. Bounderby continually ...
14) Unclear Dickenss views towards unions.
15) Dickenss exact views on educational system of the period. 16) The scholars of Victorian England did not believe that such an educational system existed in England. III. Conclusion: 1) Hard Times is an extremely brilliant novel in portraying the industrial revolution, Victorian era and the real types of characters that lived during those times. 2) My opinion on Hard Times: Hard Times is often referred to as Dickenss Industrial Novel as it deals with the social effects of the industrial revolution upon both the working class and middle class in 19th century England. Dickens has a wonderful satirical talent and constantly provides light relief from his heavy subject.
Apart from the effects of the Industrial Revolution, already referred to, the novel deals with the number of important issues. Introduction. Hard Times is essentially a didactic satire upon the Victorian social, industrial and educational systems. In Hard Times, Dickens writes about the horrors of the industrial revolution and was sparked by what he had seen first hand in Manchester, England fifteen years prior to writing Hard Times. The novel is almost biblical in nature as it has three books sowing, reaping and garnering. Book the First, Sowing, is the planting of the seeds.
It provides a basis for the problems that will affect Stephen Blackpool, who is a factory worker in Coketown. Book the Second, Reaping, details the affect the industrial relations had on Stephen. Book the Third, Garnering, describes in a broad way the results of what industrialization did to Victorian England.Charles Dickens wrote Hard Times in1854. During this period Dickens wrote for a weekly publication called Household Words, each issue dealt with a different social problem of the period. Hard Times began as a serialization in this weekly publication. By publishing his book, in this environment it gains more significance due to the fact that it is taken it context, when surrounded by other fictional and non-fictional works and the two worlds begin to merge. This allows Dickens to avoid blatant attacks upon industry, whilst enhancing the framework of his message by accompanying it with more descriptive and damning reports and accounts.Charles Dickens is an author of Victorian period and his novel Hard Times reflects a number of different themes. The novel focuses on educational and economic systems of Victorian England, the industrial revolution, which spawned how industrial relations were viewed during the 1850’s, and utilitarianism. I have chosen the two major themes of industrial relations and educational system during this period that the author evidently condemns.
... century Britain seem almost feudal. Charles Dickens uses Hard Times to criticize the newly industrial Britain for losing touch with humanity ... . Sparsit, for offending his reputation. Although Mr. Bounderby has many opportunities to do good things and create ... Dickens wrote of utilitarianism as it was applied during British industrialization. In the economic climate of the Industrial Revolution ...
The aspect I will discuss in this paper is Charles Dickenss condemnation of Victorian era that is shown through a number of examples I will give. Body. The novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens offers a glimpse into the life and times during the industrial revolution in England during the nineteenth century. Dickens offers a wide range of characters from the upper class factory owner to the lowest class factory workers. He creates characters in this range of social classes and crafts the story that intertwines each person and their transformations throughout the novel. Almost every character in this story is complex and has characteristics that run deeper than their place in society, and this is what makes the novel so very important and intense. While there are many complexities linked to these characters, some do not appear to be as complex but in actuality they are.
A strong example is Josiah Bounderby, the wealthiest character in the novel. His values and attitudes of Bounderby are indicative of the era of the industrial revolution. Mr. Bounderby is a factory and bank owner in Coketown, the industrial town in which the novel is set. He claims that he came from nothing to riches and has no problem exclaiming the trials and hard times that he went through to get to where he is now. While the people who hear these stories have no reason to doubt Mr.
... utilitarianism and provide an argument that supports social wellbeing, Mill has contradicted his own seemingly inviolate idea of individual ... of government in maintaining social stability. In fact, Mill’s definition of liberty itself is intimately linked with ... how humanity best functions as a collective. John Stuart Mill, hailed as a paradigmatic liberal political philosopher, continues this ...
Bounderby, they later learn that he was actually making up all of these stories of his grueling childhood and upbringing. It seems that Bounderby almost wants to be symbolic of the industrial revolution and attempts to model his life after how the industrial revolution came to be. Bounderby seems to want others to believe that he was never thought to dominate society and came out of something to be the head of this minor empire in Coketown. In respect to others, Bounderbys insensitivity showed towards many people. His wife Louisa was an object of this tactlessness more than once. When they were first married, their honeymoon was a trip for Bounderby to watch over other factories, clearly more interested in the progress his factories were making than actually spending time with his new wife.
The closest that Dickens comes to direct criticism of the mill-owners is in Book 2, Chapter 1 when he describes Coketownshrouded in a haze of its own, which appeared impervious to the suns raysa dense formless jumble, with sheets of cross light in it that showed nothing but masses and darkness.( Dickens, 1854) Within this bleak description, highlighted with the use of light and dark imagery, Dickens focuses his attentions upon the egotistical mill-owners. He satirises their self-interest, using an ironic tone when describing how amazing it was that Coketown, and the mill-owners, had borne so many shocksSurely there never was such fragile china-ware as that of which the millers of Coketown were made. (Dickens, 1854 ) Dickenss irony continues as he describes how the mill-owners claimed that they were ruined they were ruined wheninspectors considered it doubtful whether they were quite justified in chopping people up with their machinery. Dickens emphasizes the self-interest of the mill-owners, attacking their greed and if one was not left entirely alone, and it was proposed to hold him accountable for the consequences of any of his acts he was sure to come out with the awful menace that he would sooner pitch his property into the Atlantic.(Barnard, 1990) Dickens is not only attacking the mill-owners, he is also criticizing the tendency of the government to remove their threats of legislation due to their vested interest and their reluctance to change working standards if profit was to be risked.
... owner, the owner was Mr Bounderby. As soon as he walked in Mr Bounderby automatically assumed that he wanted more money, but Stephen ... with it and said that Mr Bounderby has asked for her hand in marriage. Louisa hesitated a ... led Tom out of the tent walking him towards Coketown. I have learned al lot from this book ... straight away all of the boys put their hands up in the air. Mr Gradgrind chose one ...
An example of this is came 1844 when a great reformer, Lord Ashley (later Earl of Shaftesbury), demanded that children aged thirteen to eighteen should have their working hours reduced from twelve to ten hours per day; this suggestion was dismissed by the then Prime Minister Peel, who thought that Britain could not survive with foreign competition on a ten-hour day.This episode is the closest that Dickens comes to direct criticism of the factory and mill-owners, and I feel that this is one of the greatest weaknesses of the novel, that if read without the background accounts and information available to Dickenss contemporary readers one is never taken inside the factories to experience the conditions, nor are we given an explanation on how to solve these shortcomings. (Barnard, 1990) Dickens tends to shy away from clear condemnation of industry and the pursuit for an answer to these problems, save the general concern with love and duty.
For instance, when Stephen Blackpool begins to question the judgement behind declaring the boxing off of machinery as Onreasonable! Inconvenient! Troublesome! he is perhaps too hastily silenced and too easily convinced by Rachael that his inquiring is pointless and in vain. One could also say that Dickens expresses his opinion in a very discreet manner; by using people such as Sleary and Stephen (northern accent) to communicate his points he is veiling the reality in a fictional exterior which appears at first farcical to the reader. (Shaw, 1990) However they are ideal vehicles for meaningful messages, Sleary showing that there is no need for the dehumanizing of whole communities by industry and that, despite the overpowering nature of utilitarianism, societies such as the circus can survive to eventually upstage generally more accepted, loveless, Fact and profit-based lifestyles. Stephen shows how, despite the destructive nature of industry, individuality amongst the Hands can be achieved with a struggle. Stephen does not symbolise the workers for in fact they ostracize him, this is supported further by the fact that he has survived unaltered by the lifestyle of the working-class, an unnatural family, shouldering, and trampling, and pressing one another to death but in fact due to his domestic relations.
... and even a product of the philosophy of fact practiced in Coketown. Ironically, Dickens uses creative metaphors in his representation of this ... to weeds amongst the theoretical crop of what the Victorians classed as the intellect. The description of the other character ... the very language he uses. Dickens lived in an era of growing industrial powers, where the ‘hands’ inside ravenous factories were ...
Dickens uses Stephen to expose the inadequacies of life from the perspective of one of the many Hands; for example, how much easier the great folk can achieve a divorce, compared to Stephens futile attempts to ever getting unchained from his alcoholic, adulterous wife this evokes great sympathy amongst the readers for Stephen and also for Rachael, his devoted lover, due to their personal dilemma. (Johnson, 1989) Once more Dickens avoids total condemnation, this time of the upper-classes, as Stephen does not go on to underline the disparities in the class system or the distribution of wealth, instead he says fair faw em a! I wishes em no hurt! the irony being that ultimately Stephen falls to his death down a coal shaft (owned by a member of the great folk), deemed by the inspector to not require boxing-in. (Dickens, 1854) Stephen is destroyed by industrialization; yet he is the one of the novels few examples of a sympathetic and individual person, prepared to disagree with popular opinion, yet eventually destroyed by what he has (perhaps not ardently enough – from a critical perspective because he is still highly sanitized) disagreed with. This industrialisation is the focus of life in Coketown and is the cause of much of Dickenss social indignation, especially due to its dehumanising nature.My second chosen episode is about the overwhelming presence of industry, The Key Note of Hard Times.
Coketown itself a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed itunnatural red and black like the painted face of a savagea black canala river that run purple with ill smelling dye and machines that worked monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a melancholy state of madness. This is Dickenss bleak, yet realistic, portrayal of the damaging effects of utilitarian industrialization; a place where machinery is more important that the inhabitants and where despite the claimed advances in civilization there was in fact an apparent and definite return to the savage and unnatural. (Smith, 1990) The dehumanized nature of the people is unsurprising therefore, their individuality destroyed to the extent of having a collective name, the Hands, which serves to make Stephen Blackpool even more outstanding. Godwin spoke of the shaping power of the environment and Coketown is a prime example of this, where the animate become lifeless due to their monotonous and grim environment, and more disturbing still is the fact that the machinery becomes animated, with the incongruous image of an elephant-ine machine.Coketown in general is described as unnatural and 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 inthe unnatural family, shouldering and trampling, and pressing one another to death amongst an immense variety of stunted and crooked shapes as though every house put out a sign of the kind of people who might be expected to be born in it. (Dickens, 1854) This is the exceptional description from Dickens, as he evokes immense sympathy for the Hands and as he depicts the shocking slum conditions and environment, in which they live. Harking back to the quotation, it is unsurprising that the Hands appeared to the upper classes, such as Bounderby, as only hands and stomachs who would get drunkthey took opiumwere a bad lot altogether, they were, by racist implication inferior. (Dickens, 1854) To Bounderby that is all they served as, Hands to work and stomachs for him to feed, he would much rather that they had been only Hands. This is an example of Disraelis two nations, the rich and the poor; Bounderby employed Hands to work in his factory in appalling conditions whilst he himself lived a life of luxury away from the unnaturalugly citadel of Coketown.
... , abusive conditions of the many lives condemned to this fortune. Stephen Crane began his quest for the ... the window had been pulled by a heavy hand and hung by one tack, dangling to ... Company, 1956. 135-145. Colvert, James B. "Stephen Crane." American Realists and Naturalists. Ed. Donald Pizer. ... . , 1936. 521-49. Seymour-Smith, Martin. "Stephen Crane." Funk and Wagnalls Guide to Modern Literature. New ...
Conflictingly it is also the Hands who are depicted by Dickens to live in the imaginative, fantasy world where the imagination is at least free to think, free of Facts, working in the Fairy palaces and the pub with the mythical name The Pegasus Arms. However, Dickens undercuts this immediately by describing the factories as competing Towers of Babel where everything was severely workful, reminding us that though this world has Fancy it is not a free, sunshine world for those figures and averages who work within it which is all the Hands are to the mill owners. (Sedgley, 1979) It is also ironic that it is Stephen and not Bounderby who shows the most natural qualities, despite leading a life devoid of many of the routes of enjoyment available to the upper class.Dickens makes religion and the absence of it a key issue in Hard Times using a tripartheid structure in the book, representing the holy trinity. His ironic rhetoric is clear to the reader by naming the three books SowingReapingGarnering. In doing ….