Hard Times/Charles Dickens

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The novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens offers a glimpse into the life and times during the industrial revolution in England during the nineteenth century. Dickens offers a wide range of characters from the upper class factory owner to the lowest class factory workers. He creates characters in this range of social classes and crafts this story that intertwines each person and their transformations throughout the novel. Almost every character in this story is complex and has characteristics that run deeper than their place in society, and this is what makes the novel so very important and intense. While there are many complexities linked to these characters, some do not appear to be as complex but in actuality they are. A strong example would be Josiah Bounderby, the wealthiest character in the novel.

Mr. Bounderby is a factory and bank owner in Coketown, the industrial town in which the novel is set. He claims that he came from nothing to riches and has no problem exclaiming the trials and hard times that he went through to get to where he is now. While the people who hear these stories have no reason to doubt Mr. Bounderby, they later learn that he was actually making up all of these stories of his grueling childhood and upbringing. This is very significant because if the comparison is made between Bounderby and the industrial revolution, there are many aspects that are in fact very comparable. It seems that Bounderby almost wants to be symbolic of the industrial revolution and attempts to model his life after how the industrial revolution came to be. For example, Bounderby seems to want others to think that he came from nothing, as did the industrial revolution. The revolution came after a time when technological ways of life were not considered to ever dominate society the way they eventually did. Bounderby seems to want others to believe that he was never thought to dominate "society" and came out of something to be the head of this minor empire...
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