HARD TIMES BY CHARLES DICKENS

HARD TIMES BY CHARLES DICKENS

The novel “Hard Times” has been written by Charles Dickens a great and dominating novelist of the Victorian age. He is also known as a representative novelist in the Victorian age. Though in the Victorian age there were many novelists but the reputation what Dickens achieved that could not have been achieved by others. The main purpose of Dickens’ writing novels was to focus attention on the various social evils of his times. Through his novel he has presented the contemporary life of the people who lived in the London. He has presented the living style of the people of lower class London life. From his novels, we can form a clear idea of the life of the poor in London. His other great novels are ‘The Pickwick Papers’, ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘Nicholas Nickelby’, ‘David Copperfield’, ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ etc.

As Chaucer was a true chronicler of 14th century and he depicted the living style and follies and of the contemporary society in ‘The Canterbury Tales’ in the same way, Dickens was also a true chronicler of the Victorian age and he also depicted the follies and vices of the contemporary society in his novels. As Pope was a social satirist and he presented the follies of society in his poetry so Dickens was also a social satirist and he also presented the follies and vices of the society in his novels.

Dickens as a novelist of society has presented the condition of factory workers and their sufferings. We get the picture that how the workers are exploited in the factory and how rich becomes richer and poor becomes poorer. Oliver Twist is a best example for it. In this novel he has brilliantly portrayed the plight and miseries of the workers of factory. Moreover, the children were also working in those factories and mines and they were compelled to do work at least thirteen hours. The plights thing is that even the babies of five or six years were also working in those mines and factories.

The another social evil was the cruelty at schools. The boys were beaten mercilessly for the least offence. Spare the rod and spoil the child was the order of the day. The social system of those days in which wealth and birth were considered more important then merit. The aristocracy and the capitalists in their turn were proud of their wealth and looked down upon poor Dickens sole purpose of writing novels was social reformations.

In ‘Hard Times’ Dickens exhibits his artistic feet and he exposes the false utilitarian attitude of life. It is a satirical exposure of evil industrialism and the excessive love for money and the worship of machinery. Gradgrind and Bounderby, represent the worst and evil capitalistic life. Gradgrind looks upon the boys and girls in the class room as little vessels which are to be filled with facts. In this way we find in ‘Hard Times’ Dickens criticises not only contemporary industrialism but also the utilitarian political economy of the time. In ‘Gradgrind’ there is no room for imagination, fancy and emotion. He symbolises the utilitarian theory of education. Bounderby, a banker and manufacturer is a symbol of the utilitarian economic theory.

In this novel, Dickens, criticises the educational theory which was based on facts and statics. The wisdom of mind was of the greater importance than the wisdom of heart. He also attacks the relationship between labour and capital and unfeeling of factory owner. The novel attacks gross materialism and upholds imaginative and spiritual values of life. In Arnold’s Scholar Gypsy we find that the spiritualty had gone and the materialism had come so the scholar leaved the university but Dickens in spite of the materialism does not leave the society rather he wants to kick out this materials and to buy Spirituality and Christianity.

To sum up we can say that Dickens may not be skilled builder of the plot but he is certainly an admirable story teller. He possesses a remarkable power of description which is evident in the description of nature and countryside. His characters are not round but they are flat. His style is organic. It is ingenious. There is some dramatic and epic element in his style. It is often poetic. He has shown power to bounce the reader into accepting what he says. Novelists like Graham Greene, George Orwell, Somerset Maugham have praised Dickens’ style and so have critics and writers like E.M Foster and Percy Lubbock. Dickens’ sole purpose of writing novels was to kick out the follies, vices and the evil ideas of society and to bring Christianity in society.

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