Thoughts and Notes for an Essay Discussing Dicken's portrait of Industrial Society in his novel "Hard Times"
Dickens, Charles. Hard Times, ed. Kate Flint, London: Penguin Books, 1995.
(It's a good starting point for writing an essay)
- Dickens 'is unmistakably possessed by a comprehensive vision, one in which the inhumanities of Victorian civilisation are seen as fostered and sanctioned by a hard philosophy, the aggressive formulation of an inhuman society' (F. R Leavis)
- Believed that the problem of industrial cities resulted from the poor education children received. Mainly due to the teaching of fact without fancy. Quotes that can be used to back up this statement
- "Facts alone" (p.1)
- "Stubborn Fact" (p.1)
- "Town built of fact, fact, fact" (p.28)
- "Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life" (p.9)
- Also apparent in the characterisations of Gradgrind, Bounderby and Bitzer.
- Gradgrind is the head of the school, and aims to extrapolate any sense of imagination in the children. He is described as "Thomas Gradgrind, sir. A man of realities. A man of fact and calculations" (p.10). An example of this is his treatment of his children when he finds they have been at the Circus. The school and circus create contrasting worlds'. School as the world of fact, and the circus as the world of fancy. Also again mirrored in his treatment of Sissy Jupe when he asks her to describe a horse. She has been around horses all her life and Gradgrind scoffs at her when she is unable to do it. He then asks Bitzer to describe it, and he gives a description devoid of emotion, bascially stating that a horse is a "graminivorous quadraped"(p.12).