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What evils does Dickens portray in book oneOf "Hard Times" and how does he go about it?

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What evils does Dickens portray in book one Of "Hard Times" and how does he go about it? Written in 1854, Charles Dickens' "Hard Times" tells the story of many different characters and their growth through troubles and time. The book does not give an accurate historical background of Dickens' time but rather, focuses on the utilitarian value system that was popular and attacks it with a satirical attitude. Even in book one alone, there are several different 'evils' represented through characters and events. One specific 'evil' Dickens attacks is that of the public schooling system. Mr Gradgrind, the owner of a school in the book, is often heard telling people of how he wants facts taught to the pupils at his school; "nothing else will ever be of service to them" he comments. The point that Dickens seems to be portraying in this book about schools is that the system seems to focus only on facts, nothing else, and this is not, despite the system's views, the most important thing for people. ...read more.


Dickens does this particularly through Stephen Blackpool who, although is an honest person, cannot end his unhappy marriage to an alcoholic wife by divorce as it is too expensive and so only rich people can do it. Stephen comments that he wants to be "ridded" of his wife even though he "were patient wi' her" and he "were mot an unkind husband to her" only to be told that " there is a law" that could help him "but that's not for you. It costs money" showing the unfairness of that society. Just because Stephen is a worker and has little money, he can't divorce his wife despite her raging temper and his unhappiness, only rich people can get divorced. Bounderby then continues on his argument against Stephen's divorce by telling him he is going "into the wrong road" and that he sees "traces of the turtle soup, and venison, and gold spoon in this" meaning that he thinks that Stephen is only wanting a divorce to try and take advantage of the company, Bounderby is saying that Stephen thinks he is ...read more.


The evils of alcohol and addiction are also shown through book one with Stephen Blackpool's wife. Dickens describes her as a "disabled, drunken creature", although Stephen states that she " were a young lass - pretty enow" when he married her but "she went bad - soon" after she started drinking. Stephen is constantly represented as an honest individual who does nothing wrong but still has the full effect of bad luck with him constantly. Dickens demonstrates through the wife's character that drink can change someone from a nice, pretty young woman to someone who her own husband pays to keep her away and it is capable of ruining something as sacred as a marriage then what else can it do. In conclusion I feel that through book one of "Hard Times", Dickens challenges many of the social injustices and evils that were present at his time. Some of them are simple, obvious ones but others he does it a more subtle way such as family relationships. ?? ?? ?? ?? Melissa Rynn 6A1 ...read more.

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