Charles Dickens's Hard Times is one of the most important novels in the
Victorian Age. He presents an industrial society in nineteenth century
in England. In this age, England prospers in manufacture and trade
because of high technologies. It is also a time of trouble. Industrial
development causes terrible conditions of a working class. The workers
are poor and work hard. Women and children work for many hours.
Dickens also presents bad social condition through his work and also
shows lives of city people and industrial society in Coketown in
England. In Hard times, Dickens has a compassion for the workers and
calls for the readers' sympathy by showing the workers' hardships
through Stephen Blackpool, a worker who is honest, innocent, generous
and full of integrity. However, facing dead-end situations, Stephen
Blackpool is the most pathetic figure.
Stephen Blackpool is the most suffered and submissive worker. Although
he is good, skilful and diligent power-loom weaver, his life is not
much improved, but he has to work for survival. Dickens presents that
most of Coketown citizens are workers. He says that they are "
generically called ' the Hands'- a race who would have found more
favor with some people, if the Providence had seen fit to make them
only hands, or, like the lower creatures of the seashore, only hands
and stomachs- lived a certain Stephen Blackpool, for forty years of
age." Dickens comments on the terrible lives of workers. The word "
generically" presents that the workers can't rise in the world because
they have no education and have not enough money to make their lives
better and comfortable. Their children must face the hardship such as
working hard and ...
... middle of paper ...
solution to improve the workers' lives because this is an important
The setting increases the compassion for Stephen. It is dark and
silent. Everybody mourns for him, and the darkness symbolizes sorrow
and death. This picture also shows Rachael's love for Stephen. She
kneels on the grass, clasp his hand and tries to comfort although he
hurts badly and is going to die.
This picture shows the relationship between Stephen Blackpool, his
wife and Rachael. Stephen and Rachael love each other, but he can't
divorce his wife because of the high expense in lawsuit that he can't
afford. Rachael is good and generous woman who takes care of Stephen's
wife. She is like an angel, light and shining star. On the contrary,
his wife is helpless and alcoholic. She increases Stephen's burden and
tries to commit suicide, but Rachael can save her life.
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