This is an essay on how Dickens portrays his view on human nature and society in chapter V, The Key Note: "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens

Essay by ed182A+, November 2006

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Explore how Dickens presents his view of human nature and society in this extract. You should investigate his:

* Use of language and style to create character and setting

* Involvement of wider themes from the novel as a whole

Dickens portrays the human nature of Coketown in a lot of different ways; he uses imagery to emphasise the idea that the mood of Coketown is a solitary, repetitive and unnatural place and that all the people that live in it are of this nature too, mechanised to suit the industrial needs of Coketown.

He describes the town as "a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it". This suggests that the harsh working environment of Coketown has overtaken everything natural and even the red bricks of the buildings. The canal's water is depicted as "black" also emphasising the point of the industrialisation of Coketown. Another point is that even though the industrial system portrays work to be good and rewarding, in fact, all it does is pollute everything around it. Dickens uses sensory language to help the reader imagine the ghastliness of Coketown; "river that ran purple with ill smelling dye", "black canal" and "barbarous jangling of bells". This brings up a question: are the people of Coketown controlling the town, or the other way around? Their labour-intensive jobs have a firm hold on their lives. Dickens believes that work is polluting everything and it must be balanced out with amusement, fun, fancy and other pleasures of life.

Coketown is illustrated as a "savage"; this is one of the many examples of metaphorical concepts and personification that Dickens uses in his language. Savages are thought of as people who are barbaric,