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Hard Times - A Practical Criticism

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Introduction

Hard Times A Practical Criticism Book Two: Reaping Chapter One: Effects in the Bank This paragraph is a descriptive one. It sets the tone for the attitude of Dickens towards the workers, and the factories, which they inhabit. He describes Coketown as a shockingly realistic one and so in doing so further terrifies the reader into forcing them to open their eyes to the devastating world in which they inhabit. This is strange, as although Dickens is seemingly writing proletariat propaganda, his audience is in-fact the nobler classes. Therefore we could be jousted into believing that Dickens is fronting a more revolutionary and extremist movement, as this novel, ad the time of its publication is closely linked to the French revolution- which Dickens confronts in A Tale Of Two Cities- and Britain's own industrial revolution. The emphasis hanging greatly on the latter. However here Dickens uses a masterful array of techniques in which to produce, if anything but concise, a well structured and detailed report upon the aesthetical roles of the workers. Dickens, by starting aesthetically, allows the reader to transform the basic principles in a manner in which to interpret the foundations of his novel. He uses much imagery to entice the reader into the story, and so allows the reader to get involved, which runs very consistently and conveniently with the origins of the story, as the story-line is one developed from his experiences and observations, of the lack of morality, ethics, and equality not just for a human but, cruelty suspended only for even animal like tendencies. Here he addresses the monotonous and repetitive life of the worker, which is reminiscent of a factory assembly line. ...read more.

Middle

This shows the greed, and immorality of the factory owners, as they had no consideration for the workers; all they saw them as was workers, and a means to progress under the workers strains. Dickens in the meanwhile, although documenting on such an atrocious act of humanity, makes it somewhat poetic, by his short spells of alliteration: "...sat on steps..." "...posts, and palings..." "...contemplating coals." It is the final piece that intrigues me the most. Here, in his abrupt, inventory-like ramblings, we see a great collage of punctuation; he uses the repetition of "...and..." in a child-like manner, which only adds to the satire of the paragraph, as he constructs the sentence with a plethora of suspense, which builds an ascendancy of dismay. He also makes use of the comma to break up the sentence, where the final moiety seems to belong to a separate sentence. He creates a rambling through this technique of issuing objects, as if he was checking them, in a Gradgrind, utilitarian-like roster. The subject matter then, is broken up by the small but precise sentence "The town seemed to be frying in oil." This is a very elaborate statement, which is directly related to the industrial revolution. Here Dickens appears to be talking about the scorching weather conditions, which through the denotation of frying would mean terribly hot; the oil derived from the condensing smog, which would be used to contain the heat, as a form of insulation, and hence the black liquid which would be scorching. Moreover, he could also be referring to the infiltration of machines in the factories. ...read more.

Conclusion

However we all know that due to the pollution and devotion to work and not the joys of nature or feeling, trees would not be allowed to grow in Coketown, and hence the workers shadows, are a shadow of the rustling woods. However this analogy is not solely kept to the lifelessness of trees, put pushed further, where Dickens tells of a droning dull noise, that of insects, when in conjunction to the mistaken woods. These similes are useful as they help to make the feel of the workers, as dull and lifeless, more sensational and real. The insect noises were only the "...whirr of shafts and wheels." which furthers that the factory was still and lifeless, as the slightest noise of machines could be heard. However this machine noise could also be shown as the noise of the workers as Dickens portrays them as robotic. This paragraph was a very informative one, in which Dickens tackles the injustice to the workers, the problems with utilitarianism, with greed, and the Industrial Revolution, all wrapped and covered in layers of language techniques; metaphors, similes, alliteration, etc... This paragraph is almost fable-like and is very moral and ethical, and so provides a good insight into the problems of the Nineteenth Century. However I feel that it is disappointing that Dickens does not fully apply his high standing in the society, so to manipulate the higher classes, so to convey his feelings. Just as he is about to touch upon a meaningful and controversial topic he lightly retreats and swiftly changes topic, to something more lightweight. And hence while this Novel contains many sound notions it is a book of dreams and not facts, just in Sissy and Mr. Gradgrind. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ken David Burton Stronach Yr.12.A.S. English ...read more.

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