This essay Hard Times has a total of 1938 words and 7 pages.
The book Hard Times written by Charles Dickens is a story about a Lancashire Mill Town in the 1840?s. The novel is divided into three books. Dickens titles the books accordingly to prepare the reader for what is about to come, and throughout the novel he shows the effects of the education system, the setup of the caste system, and the Industrial Revolution had on society through this small town of Coketown. The main characters of the novel show the English caste system of the 19th century by showing how one influences the other and the amount of power the bourgeois now have in society. They own the factories. Therefore, they have the money and, because of the changes coming from the revolution, have some power in society. The titles of the three books, "Sowing", "Reaping", and "Garnering" shows significance in the way Dickens is trying to help the reader get an understanding of what is to come. Dickens shows the way the working classes are fighting for a say in the way they are treated at work by forming unions and how a bad negotiator can ruin things. He shows from the start that the education system is based on "fact" and not "fancy." The breakdown of the "fact" based education is shown when Gradgrind himself asked a question that is not fact based. In the end, the whole system of education is reversed and the "fancy" is fancied. The novel can be summarized as a book about two struggles. One struggle is between fact and imagination and the other is the struggle between two classes. Thomas Gradgrind, the father of Louisa, Tom, and June not only stresses facts in the classroom in which he teaches, but also at home to his family. He has brought up his children to know only the "facts." Everything is black and white, right or wrong with nothing in between. Gradgrind does not like the idea of going to the circus or having flowered carpet. Everyone knows a person cannot have flowered carpet. He would trample all over them and they would end up dying. The second struggle is between the classes is illustrated between Stephen Blackpool and Bounderby. Blackpool represents the working class and Bounderby the bourgeois or middle class. He is a warm-hearted man who feels he deserves this mediocre life. Blackpool was once an employee under Bounderby and was fired for standing up for his beliefs. He believed that the union was taking anything that was given to them because they could not expect anything better. Stephen stands up for his fellow workers asking for reform and this makes Bounderby mad so he fires Stephen. This was typical during the Industrial Revolution. The run down society Dickens speaks of is that created by the Industrial Revolution. The air is filled with smoke that the working class have to breath. The water is turning colors with pollution caused by the factories. The people who are most effected by this are people like Blackpool, the lower class. Dickens shows Stephen and Bounderby as a typical worker-employer relationship. Dickens shows the way in which the factories were run at this period. A person could lose their job simply by disagreeing with what he felt was wrong because the employer did not really care about the employee. This is the way the workers were treated with no respect. In contrast to the industrial revolution, it would be highly unlikely that a middle class citizen such as Bounderby to employ an aristocrat. The titles of the three books ("Sowing", "Reaping", and "Garnering") are named in a way of giving a special reference to the upbringing and the education of the children. The titles together show the basic plot of the story. "Sowing," suggests that in the 1st book the idea of the children being sown with facts and it also lays the foundation of the plot of the novel. They are being taught fact. Where 2+2= 4 and nothing else matters, there is no gray area. Everything is either black or white and nothing else. They are not taught emotion. The 2nd book talks of the reaping or harvesting. In this book, Dickens shows that whatever was sown in the first book, the consequences are now being seen. For example, Louisa Gradgrind Bounderby was sown
Topics Related to Hard Times
Hard Times, lancashire mill town, caste system, going to the circus, dickens titles, charles dickens, based education, three books, education system, 1840s, industrial revolution, negotiator, bourgeois, factories, 19th century, carpet, imagination, novel, unions, struggle, money
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