Hard Times

An in-depth analysis of Charles Dickens’ critique of 19th century England, Hard Times.

This paper discusses the main themes and the main characters of Hard Times. The author shows how Dickens presented education as a microcosm of the social picture of the times and how Dickens explicitly critiqued the education system that existed in 19th century England, the Lancasterian system. The author also explains Dickens’ view on the Industrial Revolution that had taken root in England through “Coketown”, a typical city, and the new breed of employee that had been born – the factory worker.
“Imagine a world where there was only one, generic form of employment characterized by an assembly line. After a hard day’s work there was no entertainment to be enjoyed: no sports, no opera, no theatre and no movies. No Le Louvre, no La Scala, no Mona Lisa and no Rudolph Nureyev. And lastly, imagine if one person enforced all of this. That person would be perfectly represented by Thomas Gradgrind. In reality, if Thomas Gradgrind had had his way, Newton who probably discovered more facts than any person in our history would not have given the world the foundations of physics that we enjoy today.”