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Hard Times Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Dickens’ Hard Times: His Penchant for Romantic Principles

Hard Times is a rare example of fiction spun out of very prosaic materials. Yet it possesses certain romantic characteristics of brooding tenderness and deep sympathy for the neglected and the underprivileged which became hall mark of Charles Dickens’ novels. It also displays a grieving melancholy, a mournful reflectiveness and a quantity of self-indulgent sentimentality. The American scholar A. O. Lovejoy argues that “the word ‘romantic’ has come to mean so many things that, by itself, it means nothing at all. It may seem that repetition has wrung the life out of the term, yet it still appears to be as potentially sustaining as a twist of pemmican. It is a word at once indispensable and useless. F. L. Lucas…

Hard Times

Hard Times opens with a look at a Utilitarian educational system.  The readers are introduced to a method of teaching that is centered only on facts and nothing else: no imagination, and “unnecessary” information (Hard Times…..2006). Schoolmaster Thomas Gradgrind fully supports the Utilitarian system, and has brought up his children Tom and Louisa ( and their siblings) in this way. Mr. Gradgrind’s longtime pal Josiah Bounderby – a factory owner – is also an enthusiast of Utilitarianism (Hard Times…..2006). Louisa Gradgrind is a miserable and misled girl, while his brother Tom is an unwholesome and ambitious young man (Hard Times…..2006). When a circus performer’s daughter, Sissy Jupe, enrolls at the Gradgrind School, she unsettles the people around her by her…

Hard Times and Utilitarianism

“NOW, what I want is, Facts”, and so starts Charles Dickens novel Hard Times which first appeared as a serial publication in 1854. Dickens regularly took inspiration from the prevailing conditions as topics of his writings and proceeds to make social commentaries through his brand of creative fiction. Examples of these are Oliver Twist (Dickens, 1837) and Bleak House (Dickens, 1952). Hard Times was similarly inspired. The novel is mainly a critic of Utilitarianism, the dominant philosophy at the time the novel was written. As Geoffrey Scarre (1996) stated in his book entitled Utilitarianism, “The eighteenth century was the green youth of utilitarianism, as the nineteenth was its prime” (p. 49). The term utilitarianism was first coined by Jeremy Bentham…

Fancy Versus Fact: A Study of Two of Dicken’s Characters

Charles Dicken’s novel Hard Times is a commentary on the shortcomings of the Mid-Nineteenth Century England’s Industrialization Era, which favored the development of human beings into machines, without having any emotions or imagination. The characters in this novel have allegorical shades and represent two different ‘types’ of people; two different kinds of products of the industrial age. For instance, Thomas Gradgrind is the main character of the novel and represents ‘facts’. In contrast, Cecilia Jupe aka Sissy’s character stands for ‘fancy’ or imagination. Thus, both these characters represent two different philosophies or lifestyles. Through these characters, Dickens has tried to question how fact differs from fancy and why fancy and imagination form an important part of one’s personality and development…

Fact and Fancy in Hard Times

Discuss the significance of Fact and Fancy in Hard Times with particular reference to Dickens’ presentation of the worlds of Sleary’s circus and Coketown. You should focus closely on techniques used and effects created and how both of these things shape our response, as readers, to the text. Dickens uses a range of techniques to present the idea of the importance of and contrast between Fact and Fancy, such as the settings of the contrasting ‘worlds’ in the novel, imagery, and the very language he uses. Dickens lived in an era of growing industrial powers, where the ‘hands’ inside ravenous factories were many and depersonalised. With such an economy rapidly expanding, it could be considered the only logical that the…