Hard Times

Topics: Population, Workhouse, Thomas Robert Malthus Pages: 3 (952 words) Published: May 19, 2002
.Hard Times

In the novel Hard Times, by Charles Dickens, we can immediately see the problems that occurred in England around the times period of the mid 18oo's. Dickens shows us how the class system works and what the economy was then and what it would shape out to be. This novel is split into three books, the "Sowing", "Reaping", and "Garnering".

In the first book, we can see that it is aptly named because we begin to learn about who the characters are and what they are about. The characters begin to "sow" or plant their identities, and we can now see the framework of the first book. In the second book, we can see that the characters are beginning to "reap" what sowed in the first book. They sowed seeds of unkindness, logic, fact, dishonesty, and discontent. For these, they reaped unhappiness, disillusionment and destruction, loneliness, and ostracism. Each character reaped a harvest of his own making. In the third book, we see the characters picking up the pieces of what is left of their lives. Mr. Gradgrind, after realizing the failure of his system, tries to help his children, and finally starts to act as a concerned father. At the same time we can see Bounderby, who was found out to be a fraud is left alone without his reputation. Each if the characters in the novel, sow, reap and garner what is left.

During the time period that this novel was written the industrial revolution in England was occurring. The revolution created deplorable living conditions, and there was overcrowding in the cities because of a population shift from rural to urban areas. Also, during this time there was an increase in the number of immigrants, which resulted in the increase of diseases and hunger for many people in the laboring class. There was also unemployment. Due to this, arose the problem of child labor.

Due to studies, the English Parliament tried to bring about reforms in working conditions to ease some of the poverty and other problems they...
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