A Comparison of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen Essay

A Comparison of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen Essay

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A Comparison of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen


Of the many authors to emerge during the nineteenth-century, Charles
Dickens and Jane Austen were among the few who would make a lasting
impression on the literary world for generations. Hard Times, often
referred to as Dickens’ ‘Industrial novel’ and Austen’s Pride and
Prejudice have been much read and well-loved classics for many years.
It is the purpose of this essay to compare and contrast the different
worlds depicted in both Hard Times and Pride and Prejudice. It will
also look at the literary development between the early and late
nineteenth-century. The essay will end with the examination of the
stylistic characteristics of each author.

In the world depicted in Hard Times, workers are treated as little
more than interchangeable parts in the factory's machinery, given just
enough wages to keep them alive and just enough rest to make it
possible for them to stand in front of their machines the next day.
The town in which the story is set is called Coketown, taking its name
from the ‘Coke’, or treated coal, powering the factories and
blackening the town's skies. It is a large fictional industrial
community in the north of England during the mid-nineteenth century.
In Chapter 5 of the novel, Dickens describes the town as having
buildings and streets that looked the same with red brick but were
forever masked with smoke. The reader is told that the town looked
like the ‘painted face of a savage’ and ‘serpents of smoke’ trailed
out of its factories. It is easy to imagine the sunshine struggling to
break through the thick smoke.

The lives of the workers were monotonous and hard as they lived in ‘a
town so sacred to ...

... middle of paper ...

...ast, Miss Austen’s very finely
written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent
for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of
ordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with.’
(Watt, 1963).


Allen, W. (1954) The English Novel, Dutton, New York

Allen, W. (1960) The English Novel, Pelican, London

Bygrave, S. ed. (1996) Approaching Literature: Romantic Writings, The
Open University

Gray, M. and Gray, L. (2001) York Notes Advanced: Pride and Prejudice,
Jane Austen, York Press, London

Page, N. (1985) Macmillan
Master Guides: Hard Times by Charles Dickens, Macmillan Education
Ltd, London ("Romanticism (literature)," Microsoft® Encarta® 98 Encyclopedia. ©
1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation.)

Watt, I. Ed. (1963) Jane
Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays, Prentice-Hall Inc, USA

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