How Does Dickens Use the Theme of Deception in Hard Times?

Topics: Social class, Middle class, Working class Pages: 4 (1427 words) Published: November 6, 2008
How does Dickens use the theme of deception in Hard Times?

Dickens uses the theme of deception in Hard Times through education, class divides, utilitarianism, imagery and entrapment. The utilitarians of the Victorian era were concerned only with analysis and facts and they were insensitive to peoples’ qualities such as imagination. Dickens was strongly against this and this is portrayed throughout the novel with the theme of deception highlighting how the people in education and of power treated others for their own selfish needs.

Dickens was strongly against the social injustices of 19th Century England and his theme of deception is highlighted through the “one thing needful” in the book, which is the education system of the Victorian era. Children of the Victorian era were afraid of their teachers as they were regularly canned and deceived into believing that they had no personal identity as they were referred to as “number twenty..” (Ch. 2. p. 5) rather than their name. Dickens clearly shows his hatred for this system in the way he characterises the people of power in the novel. Gradgrind, whose name immediately makes the reader feel ready to be interrogated and grinded down with facts, is in strong belief of Utility and sees nothing more important than producing fact filled humans to work in the mines and factories. He is “A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over,” This was true to the time as if people were allowed imagination or personal opinion then they might have been able to speak up and cause change for the better in the appalling conditions that they worked in due to the industrial revolution.

Gradgrind enforces his strict opinions onto his own children and this is shown through Louisa. She shuts herself away and is self-contained throughout the novel however she has outbursts against the repression of facts. When her father asks her if she has any other marriage proposals she answers him...
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