Criticism Of Dickens 's Hard Times Essay

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In the midst of the industrialization era in Victorian Times, an educational system known as the Utilitarian Model was introduced in order to produce “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Founded by Jeremy Benthan, it consisted of strict discipline, rote education and “facts alone”. Creativity was not encouraged.

Social criticism in Dickens’s Hard Times exposes how people were turning into machines. Dickens effectively uses caricature in writing to mock the educational system at that time. There are also elements of exaggeration, repetition and allusions to emphasize the mockery against utilitarianism. Factory imageries and measuring imagery is used to objectify and depersonalizes characters and thus, to create a false logic in the text.

“Teach these boys and girls nothing but facts.” From the very beginning, Dickens establishes himself within a contemporary debate on the nature of learning, knowledge and education. Utilitarianism was based mainly upon the learning of facts and only facts. This is acknowledged by the constant repetition of the word fact in the first chapter, especially in the first paragraph. The repetition is used to emphasize the importance of facts and that nothing else will ever be of any service to the students. This emphasis is further on stressed by the description of the body language of the speaker. “The emphasis was helped by the speaker’s square wall of forehead…” At the same time, an anaphora is used at the beginning of each sentence…

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