Hard Times - Dickens' Voice On Social Issues Essay

Hard Times - Dickens' Voice On Social Issues Essay

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Hard Times

Hard Times by Charles Dickens was published in 1854. Dickens vividly depicts the various social issues of his time, and his critical view is reflected in the story. Unlike the majority of the children at that time, Dickens was fortunate enough to attend private school. He wrote this story to voice sympathy for children who had to follow the biased education system that emphasizes facts and concrete logical thinking. Dickens shows his dislike of the system through use of language, setting, and character development over abstract ideas, and creativity imagination.

Each book of Hard Times using farming terms: Sowing, Reaping, and Garnering. These names reflect steps of the education system in Coketown. They sow facts and figures into children to make them into good specimens, then reap and garner the perfect form of those grown up children filled with facts. In chapter 1, Book 1, titled,” One thing needful” which says what is most necessary in Coketown: and his colleagues. A quote from chapter1 (Book 1, pg.11, line1~8) suggests, teaching children only facts is the principle he strongly believes in. “Plant nothing else and root out everything else.” In this manner, he can exterminate their imagination completely. Some of the characters in this book have names that further reflect Dickens’ views. For example, Gradgrind, of Mr. Gradgrind means to reduce something to fine particle. It is his wish to reduce children’s imaginations and to make them into robotic carbon copies or clones. Choakumchild of Mr. McChoakumchild means to choke children to torture and to kill their imagination. Dickens invents these silly names to mitigate the sad and serious part of this book.

Coketown in Victorian industrial society has th...


... middle of paper ...


... beings into machines by interrupting the development of emotions and imaginations. These suggestions are quite apparent from the fall of Bounderby and Gradgrind, who were so caught up in being forthright and analytical. Louisa and Tom are the victims crushed under the anti-fascism education taught by their father.

On the other hand, Sissy who grew up in the circus constantly treated in the fancy world forbidden to Louisa and Thom. She spends happier life, lovingly raising her children. It is obvious that love and warmth enriched her personalities. But at the same time, we should not forget that if Gradgrind had not adopted her, Sissy would have no guidance and discipline. Her life could have been different. As a conclusion, the one thing needful is that both fact and dream are important for a balanced life.

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