Hard Times Analysis

Topics: Industrial Revolution, Charles Dickens, Steam engine Pages: 1 (319 words) Published: December 21, 2010
Hard Times

It is obvious that Charles Dickens is trying to express his negative feelings towards the industrial revolution by describing the town the way he does. He uses a large amount of figures of speeches and metaphors to indirectly describe the depressing look of Coketown and the people that inhabit it. The name of the town itself says a lot about it. “Coketown” can also be portrayed as a town dominated by slums and criminals. “It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever and never got uncoiled” The town is covered in clouds of pollution and smoke, an image that describes the dark and contaminated nature of the industrialisation. He uses the phrase “serpents of smoke,” a disturbing image that conveys the idea, that an evil destiny lays before Coketown, in case things do not change. “It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye […]” This obviously indicates the pollution that is going on, hence the ill smell and the odd colours. The author uses another disturbing image to describe the pistons of the steam engines. “[…] the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness.” This bizarre image visualises powerful machines trapped in pointless repetitive motion. This also illustrates the boring and repetitive everyday routine that rather sums up the life of the town and the people that inhabit it. One would conclude this on the following quote: “[…] inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours, with the same sound upon the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day was the same as yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and the next”.
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