Chapter 4)?Does Dickens portray the Unions with as much Sympathy as the
Workers? Charles Dickens wrote Hard Times in 1854.
What is Dickens Attitude to the Working Classes in Chapter XX (Book
2, Chapter 4)?
Does Dickens portray the Unions with as much Sympathy as the Workers?
Charles Dickens wrote Hard Times in 1854. He lived in London and
because he was writing about industrialisation in the North at that
time he went up to Preston in 1852 to explore the industrialisation
there and to witness the strike of the weavers. He was horrified by
the oppressing industrialists he witnessed and also horrified by
seeing the way the common people were made to work. His experiences in
Preston and the characters he met were very much portrayed in Hard
Chapter 20 in Hard Times shows Dickens’ attitude to the different
classes of people that were involved in industrialisation. The chapter
is about the mill workers who are debating whether or not to go on
strike because they are tired of the bad treatment they are receiving
from their oppressor, Bounderby. The two main characters who are
speaking in this Chapter of the book are Stephen and Slackbridge.
Stephen is one of the workers in the mill who has sworn to the woman
that he is in love with, Rachel, that he would not join the Union
because of reasons not explained in the book. The main point that
Dickens is putting across through what Stephen is saying is that if
they strike and join the Union then it will result in even more harsh
treatment and a bleak future.
Slackbridge is the Trade Unionist in the chapter who we presume has
been sent by the National Unionists to encourage t...
... middle of paper ...
...certain that they both had
very strong feelings of the workers being oppressed. Dickens had also
seen what had happened when the workers did eventually revolt as 1848
was the Year of Revolutions; France, Germany and Russia had all
revolted and we see that from the Chapter XX of Hard Times Dickens was
definitely against the English workers forming a revolution too.
It seems probable that Dickens’s life-long distrust of political
association and his early experience as a reporter in the House of
Commons are partially responsible for his attitude to trade unions
So although the tone of this chapter is revolutionary, it actually
fails to be revolutionary. Hard Times was one of Dickens weakest
novels as he didn’t follow through his points and the most obvious
question that he left unanswered and ambiguous is his solution to the
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