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Hard Times, Dickens

Dickens has wrote Hard Times during Victorian age that was an age of continual change: there was made a lot of reform, it was a period of great industrialization and expansion in every field (urbanization, economy, colonization…), it also was an age of achievement in science, technology and medicine, there was improvement in government and development in literature, moreover this age was featured by struggle for independence in many counties but also laboring class rose in power and prosperity.
Hard Times-wrote in 1854- is a novel of social protest, it is a bitter denunciation to the people of that time and the main theme is utilitarianism which is a thought for that the more people are happier the more is good what make people happy.
The story is set in Coketown that is imaginary industrial town during the period of the industrial revolution: this means Coketown is a grey city in which people anren’t definitely happy because they do always the same things.

The style is featured of a direct third person omniscient narrator; the reader is called directly into the novel with the use of “you/let’s”; there is an apparent realism due to the use of many descriptive adjectives but the narration isn’t objective because it is exaggerated, indeed exaggeration is given by repetition of phrases, words or concepts and quality of adjectives; it is also important a large use of symbolism, metaphors and similes and allegories which have a biblical connotation.
Talking about narrative mode there is a large use of dialogue, many descriptions and narrations, but also understatement (satire) and humor.
The main themes are universal ideas explored: the mechanization and dehumanization of man in the industrial society and alienation; rationality and calculation against fancy and spirituality; social mobility; poverty and laziness; need for social compassion and charity; mechanized time against natural time.
Orwell in “Rebelliousness” said that Dickens attach English society with ferocity but without made himself being hated. Moreover George Bernard said that the difference between Marx and Dickens is that Marx knew he was a revolutionist, Dickens did not.

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