Hard Times- Dickens [Education]

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“I am as proud as you are. I am just as proud as you are.” Dickens is an intrusive narrator who comments on the characters through their dialogues and thoughts. Through the above lines, uttered by Bounderby, Dickens presents his observations of an age in which religion, taking a simplistic view, is the “opium of the masses”, and is mostly considered to have no relation with the material world. In Christianity, pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins and is usually considered the originator of the other six. Lucifer’s pride led him to compete with God and eventually caused his fall from heaven, and resultant metamorphosis into Satan. However, through Bounderby’s statement, it is made clear that this “bully of humility”, considers pride a virtue. He has an inordinate love for the self, which shines through his constant reiteration of his progress from a “gutter snipe” to the “self-made man” that he considers himself. Bonderby’s supreme belief in himself and his abilities is also a comment on the age itself. The novel is set in the age of industrialization wherein mechanical mindsets were beginning to take the place of the spiritual. All aesthetics and fancies were considered “nonsense”, and the invention of various machines gave man the sense that he had controlled nature. This led to a growing pride in the abilities of men, and divine interventions were relegated to fairy-tales which the children were not allowed to read as they were too “fanciful”. Religion became devoid of purpose of purpose and was embroiled in monotony and commodification. Dickens through Bounderby’s pride is his pride laments this down-gradation of God. As Bounderby’s name suggests, he is bound by his class and convictions in his own superiority. He shows no sympathy for the poor, even though he himself has experienced poverty, and instead insults their abilities by saying “what I can do, you can do”. He negates the individual identities of the people of Coketown, and fails to appreciate the...
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