• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12

“In Hard Times exactly the same spiritual failings underlie the problems of industrial society, a mechanistic education system and the inability of men and women to achieve fulfilling relationships.’ Discuss

Extracts from this document...


Lisa Robertshaw Interdisciplinary Human Studies "In Hard Times exactly the same spiritual failings underlie the problems of industrial society, a mechanistic education system and the inability of men and women to achieve fulfilling relationships.' Discuss Charles Dickens (1812-1870), spent his childhood in the rural town of Kent where he was very happy. However, his family met financial problems and his father was sent to debtor's prison. Young Charles (aged 12), was withdrawn from school and sent to work in a blackening factory for three years. This traumatic experience had a profound effect, and provided him with insight of working class conditions, for when he later became a novelist Dickens started to write Hard Times in 1854, by which time cities had been increasing in size, due predominantly, to growth in the textile, iron and railway industry. Previously working country folk had lived almost along side their employers and had struck up a relationship with them albeit an unequal one. However, in the large sprawling cities there became a large, psychological, as well as physical gap between 'masters' and 'men'. Dickens believed that part of the problem of industrialised cities, was due to the way children were educated. They were only taught factual information and not encouraged to think and evaluate. Gradgrind's school children learn nothing but Facts, and he quells the first signs of creativity. This imagination or 'Fancy' is represented in Hard Times by the circus from where Sissy Jupe originates. ...read more.


Thou'rt an Angel; it may be, thou hast saved my soul alive!" Stephen seeks advice from Bounderby but his dreams are thwarted instantly, as he discovers only the very rich are able to obtain a divorce, and their love remains unrequited. This is an example of the moral and financial pressures which where imposed upon the relationships between men and women. Stephen and Rachel's situation echoes Dickens' own unhappy marriage, and it is speculated that he was having an affair with a young actress while writing Hard Times. (Slater pg. 135) Victorian society was very moralistic, however there seems to be no moral questions asked, when women were prostituted into a loveless marriage, for money or other favours. Louisa shows her contempt for Bounderby ( her future husband), when he demands a kiss from her as he leaves. "she stood on the same spot rubbing the cheek he had kissed, with her handkerchief, until it was burning red.. "You'll rub a hole in your face" her brother sulkily remonstrated.."You may cut the piece out with your penknife, if you like, Tom. I wouldn't cry!" However despite her hatred of Bounderby, she sacrifes herself to his offer of marriage in order to gain advantages for her brother and to please her father who is his friend. Dickens felt that the way in which the rationalised education structure, emotionally stunted people, was a component in the unsuccessful relationships between Victorian men and women. ...read more.


He and Marx believe that joining a Union, in order to fight together for their cause, is the only way out of their subordinate position. In conclusion Hard Times is not Dickens's most subtle novel. Most of its moral themes are very explicitly articulated through extremely sharp characterisation and the narrator's frequent interjection of his own opinions and experiences. Dickens was extremely concerned with the miserable lives of the poor and working classes in the England of his day, and Hard Times engages these social problems directly. What emerges from the book is a very simple contrast between Mr Gradgrind's philosophy of Fact, which includes pervasive rationalism and the idea that people should only act according to their best interest, and the simple loving honesty of Sissy Jupe, who contradicts Gradgrind's insistence on Fact by frequently indulging in romantic, imaginative Fancy. The philosophy of fact is shown to be at the heart of the problems of the poor; the smoke stacks, factory machines, and clouds of black smog are all associated with Fact, while Fancy is held up to be the route to charity and love between men and women. In reality this contrast is oversimplified; clearly a commitment to factual accuracy does not lead directly to selfishness, and a commitment to imagination does not equal a commitment to social equality. However, these contrasting ideas serve as a kind of shorthand for Dickens to enlighten his readers to the states of mind that enable certain kinds of action. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hard Times section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Hard Times essays

  1. "In Hard Times Dickens presents a convincing analysis of the social problems that have ...

    "A disabled, drunken creature, barely able to preserve her posture by steadying herself with one begrimed hand on the floor." Although this character may be an attempt to make the reader feel pity for the unfortunate Blackpool, it could not help but enforce stereotypes of the time.

  2. Hard Times(TM) is a social satire which explores the ills of an Industrial Victorian ...

    Despite Bounderby and Mrs.Sparsit, the rest of the characters, for an allegorical novel, have unexpectedly intricate character foundations. The characters in Hard Times have simplistic characteristics of a character developed for allegorical purposes more caricatures of what they really would be, as well as the elaborate qualities of actual people.

  1. In what ways does Dickens use satire as a means of illustrating social problems ...

    It creates a picture, in the readers' mind of a deceitful, selfish, scoundrel. It turns out that Mrs Pegler did not abandon Bounderby, as he claimed, and he did not work his way up from obscurity, instead she cared for him with love and tenderness and sacrificed her comforts for the sake of her son.

  2. The purpose of this essay is to consider what role the circus folk play ...

    good educator and he desires that she has a better life than he, her father thought that she could achieve this through education "my poor father wished me so much to learn" (Charles Dickens: pg76, Hard Times, 1854). With reference to the rest of the circus cast we meet Mr

  1. Hard Times - explore several issues from Dickenss point of view on Victorian Society, ...

    This suggests that Coketown was absolutely filled with smoke and that buildings were turning black because of it. This gives us a picture of a very dull town and a very polluted town. Another example Dickens uses to show the town was polluted is by saying, "serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever and never got uncoiled."

  2. Does Charles Dickens Show Affection To The Working Classes Of Victorian England In Hard ...

    the rights for workers, he is a massive contrast to Blackpool who really does just want to get on with it, ok he may not like it but he doesn't want to cause any hassle by making a point of it.

  1. Hard Times - Charles Dickens: 'Discuss the theme of education in Hard Times'

    What people learn in their childhood is what they grow up to be, and these children have been robbed of everything good and human from them. They will grow up to be just like machines. If the philosophy of utilitarianism had continued, the world would have continued industrialisation not only with machines but also with people.

  2. Title: How does Dickens present the education system in Hard Times?

    Dickens also presents the classroom in a similar way to the town itself. He describes the classroom and Coketown as dull places because they don't have a variety of things happening. The scene of the classroom is described as 'a plain, bare, monotonous vault...'

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work