Dickens’ Hard Times
“Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts.
Facts alone are wanted in life.” (Dickens, 1854, p.1)
With these beginning sentences of the novel “Hard Times”, Charles Dickens has made readers doubt whether it is true that facts alone are wanted in life. This question leads to the main theme of the story, fact against fancy, that author has never been written this kind of plot in his other stories before. In fact, Hard Times is considered as "the unlike-the-rest of Dickens’ works" (Collins, 1992, p.xi) because the plot is not involved the social problems in Victorian Age such as poverty or child labor, but it is "an abstract that exalts instinct above reason." (Collins, 1992, p.xiii) Although it is not Dickensian, author still put his cliff-hanger characteristic on his work which makes the story enjoyable and worth reading for all-age-readers. Due to many interesting factors, this novel has been chosen to be the topic of this essay consisting of three parts that are the historical backgrounds, the facts about this novel and my critical reflections. To gain the comprehensive perspective of the story, we need to look back on historical backgrounds of the age that this novel took place which can be seen in three ways that are the economy, the social class and the education. Victorian Age is the period of economic progress that Industrial Revolution played important part in the British society. As a result, there were many factories located in town and it is imaginary described in a story that industrial Coketown is “where the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness.” (Dickens, 1854, p.20). So, it shows that Hard Times is "a realistic novel that author voiced a radically dissident attitude on Industrial Revolution in his story." (Lowy 2007 218) According to the growth of economy, there was the distinction found in social classes...
References: Collins, Philip (1992). Introduction. Charles Dickens Hard Times(p. xi,xii,xiii). Berwick
Street, London: The Millennium Library.
Dickens, Charles (1854). Hard Times For These Times. Charles Dickens Hard Times(p.
Answers & More - enotes.com. Retrieved January 10, 2013, from
Lowy, M. (2007). The Current of Critical Irrealism. A concise companion to realism(p. 218).
Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
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