Charles Dickens ' Hard Times Essay

1494 Words 6 Pages
The Industrial Revolution was a period of many things for many Britons, but most importantly it was a period of mechanization, mass production and the creation of a working and middle class that divided the nation. The substitution of machine labor for muscle labor led to a sweeping, relatively rapid change in the way of life throughout Britain. Productivity grew and standards of living grew along with it. However, this led to many questioning whether the increase in the standards of living actually meant a better quality of life and the answer to it is subjective to who is being asked. Charles Dickens, a significant, prolific author and reformist of the period, criticized the apparent “progress” of the Industrial Revolution and his novel Hard Times called attention to the deterioration in moral values, exploitation, deprivation and oppression that befell not only to the working class, but affected the middle and upper class as well. Written in the backdrop of 1854, in the midst of a century where many Britons prided themselves on their social and economic progress, Dickens gave a harsh commentary on the change within society and its consequent effect on the population. The real question remains on whether industrialization was a sign of progress and positive change or a process that divided society; full of flaws and limits. Looking back from the perspective of a modernized 21st century, it is difficult to imagine how life would be if the industrial revolution had not…

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