Dickens and his structure
Of Hard Times
"On every page Hard Times manifests its identity as a polemical work, a critique of Mid-Victorian industrial society dominated by materialism, acquisitiveness, and ruthlessly competitive capitalist economics" (Lodge 86). The quotation above illustrates the basis for Hard Times. Charles Dickens presents in his novel a specific structure to expose the evils and abuses of the Victorian Era. Dickens' use of plot and characterization relate directly to the structure on account that it shows his view of the mistreatments and evils of the Victorian Era, along with his effort to expose them through literary methods. A befitting display of structure is evident through his giving name to the three books contained in Hard Times. The titles of the three appropriately named books are an allusion to the Bible, and are also "given a further twist in Gradgrind's recommendation to Plant nothing else and root out everything else' (except facts)" (Lodge 91). In the first book, titled "Sowing, " we are introduced to those that Dickens creates a firm character basis with. The opening chapter emphasizes on Thomas Gradgrind Sr., and his students fittingly referred to as "vessels before him ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they are filled to the brim" (Dickens 12). Gradgrind's methods of education are employed to show Dickens' view on the evil of the educational system. Among the "vessels" are Bitzter and Sissy Jupe. They exemplify two entirely different ideas, serving Dickens for allegorical purposes. Bitzer, the model student of Gradgrind's school of "facts, facts, facts" becomes the very symbol of evil in the educational system that Dickens is trying to portray, as he learns to take care for number one, himself. Reflection of this and Bitzer's informative definition of a horse, as a child in book one, occurs in book three as he speaks of the necessity of apprehending Tom Gradgrind Jr....
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