Comparison Between Hard Times and Communist Manifesto

1759 Words Apr 1st, 2013 8 Pages
Throughout history, a divide has always existed between the rich and poor in society. However, during the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England, this rift reached its peak. The working class labored for long hours and received miniscule wages, whereas the bourgeoisie grew abundantly wealthy through the labor of the working class. Published in 1848 and 1854 respectively, Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto and Charles Dickens’ Hard Times both comment on these troubles. While Hard Times is a novel which tells a story and The Communist Manifesto is a short publication which tries to bring about social change, both writings offer a sharp critique of the class antagonism brought about by capitalism at the height of the Industrial …show more content…
Furthermore, like many members of the bourgeoisie, Bounderby tries to better himself at the expense of the proletarians. While Bounderby was a member of the lower class in his youth, he has completely turned his back on them. He treats the proletarians with contempt, and he believes that all the proletarians desire “to be fed on turtle soup and venison, with a gold spoon.” Dickens is creating an irony here. Bounderby believes that all the proletarians want to get rich without working, yet the proletarians are actually doing all the excruciating work in the society. However, the wealth is not going to the proletarians but to Bounderby himself. In contrast, the protagonist of the novel is Stephen Blackpool, who represents the average proletarian. He is not very educated, he works long hours at a difficult factory job, and he gets paid very little for this job. Blackpool is a tragic character who is constantly being taken advantage of by members of higher classes. Bounderby takes advantage of Blackpool through wage labor, and Tom Gradgrind takes advantage of him by framing him for the bank robbery. This all leads to a life full of sufferings, including exile from Coketown and an untimely death. Blackpool would be a perfect model for Marx in order to showcase the sufferings of the proletarians in Victorian England. Bounderby had complete control over Blackpool. Bounderby could decide
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