Hard Times and Charles Dickens

1845 WordsMar 24, 20058 Pages
The novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens is a fictitious glimpse into the lives of various classes of English people that live in a town named Coketown during the Industrial Revolution. The general culture of Coketown is one of utilitarianism. The school there is run by a man ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature . This man, known as Thomas Gradgrind, is responsible for the extermination of anything fanciful and integration of everything pertinent and factual into the young, pliable minds of Coketown's children. The older characters in the book, and especially Mr. Bounderby, are examples of how years of leading a utilitarian life can mold someone into an arrogantly bland and ignorant individual, which I think is one of…show more content…
Starting from the bottom to become a successful owner of multiple businesses filled this man with pride and conceit. He definitely lived by the mantra; if I can do it then anyone can. Which of course is false, because not everyone can be the owner of the factory, someone has to man the machinery. Charles Dickens obviously created this character with a purpose in mind. He wanted to portray the greedy business owner that exploits his employees and that is oblivious to any moral obligation that could be present in an employee/employer relationship. Dickens wanted to show that for capitalism to work most efficiently there must be exploitation on the part of decision makers towards employees. In this book, capitalism is portrayed as the enemy of equality. "Miss Louisa, I said I didn't know. I thought I couldn't know whether it was a prosperous nation or not, unless I knew who had got the money, and whether any of it was mine. But that had nothing to do with it. It was not in the figures at all." This quote from Sissy Jupe demonstrates the prevalent ideology in Coketown of the rationalization of exploitation as sound means for acquiring wealth. Where I find flaw in this book, is in the character of Mr. Bounderby. He illustrates a great contradiction. That is, that he believes everyone has the opportunity to make themselves wealthy, but his success was made possible, or at least

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