Essay on Industrialization and Utilitarianism in Dickens' Hard Times

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Industrialization and Utilitarianism in Dickens' Hard Times

Charles Dickens uses his fictitious town in Hard Times to represent the industrialization of England at that time or close to it. Most of this representation, however, isn't accurately described compared the way things really were during industrialization. It is important to remember throughout this paper that not only is Hard Times a work of fiction, it was meant to be a satire, a parody of ideas and ways of thinking at the time. In most respects, it wasn't meant to accurately describe the way things were.

Dickens covers up his parody with a realistic and extremely accurate depiction of the typical industrial town. Coketown is described to be the
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"On November 6, 1838, Charles Dickens made his first visit to Manchester.... [H]is first surviving remarks on the experience occur in a letter written to E. M. Fitzgerald at the end of December. 'So far as seeing goes,' he stoutly affirmed, 'I have seen enough for my purpose, and what I have seen has disgusted and astonished me beyond all measure. I mean to strike the heaviest blow in my power for these unfortunate creatures....' The blow was a long time in getting delivered...; it came finally in the publication of Hard Times" (Marcus 30). In a way, Dickens took it upon himself to do much as Sinclair did with The Jungle; he wrote the book to expose the evils that existed and were going on in order to force people to realize them and get something done about it.

For the factories themselves, Dickens doesn't give much of a description of the inside. In fact, the only time the reader is taken inside of one to see the character Stephen Blackpool at work just as he's leaving. "A clattering of clogs upon the pavement, a rapid ringing of bells, and al the melancholy mad elephants, polished and oiled up for the day's monotony, were at their heavy exercise again.... A special contrast, as every man was in the forest of looms where Stephen worked, to the crashing, smashing, tearing piece of mechanism at which he laboured.... The work

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