A Comparison of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen
ADVANCED ENGLISH LANGUAGE ESSAY
Of the many authors to emerge during the nineteenth-century, CharlesDickens and Jane Austen were among the few who would make a lastingimpression on the literary world for generations. Hard Times, oftenreferred to as Dickens’ ‘Industrial novel’ and Austen’s Pride andPrejudice have been much read and well-loved classics for many years.It is the purpose of this essay to compare and contrast the differentworlds depicted in both Hard Times and Pride and Prejudice. It willalso look at the literary development between the early and latenineteenth-century. The essay will end with the examination of thestylistic characteristics of each author.
In the world depicted in Hard Times, workers are treated as littlemore than interchangeable parts in the factory’s machinery, given justenough wages to keep them alive and just enough rest to make itpossible for them to stand in front of their machines the next day.The town in which the story is set is called Coketown, taking its namefrom the ‘Coke’, or treated coal, powering the factories andblackening the town’s skies. It is a large fictional industrialcommunity in the north of England during the mid-nineteenth century.In Chapter 5 of the novel, Dickens describes the town as havingbuildings and streets that looked the same with red brick but wereforever masked with smoke. The reader is told that the town lookedlike the ‘painted face of a savage’ and ‘serpents of smoke’ trailedout of its factories. It is easy to imagine the sunshine struggling tobreak through the thick smoke.
The lives of the workers were monotonous and hard as they lived in ‘atown so sacred to …
…ast, Miss Austen’s very finelywritten novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talentfor describing the involvements and feelings and characters ofordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with.’(Watt, 1963).BIBLIOGRAPHY
Allen, W. (1954) The English Novel, Dutton, New York
Allen, W. (1960) The English Novel, Pelican, London
Bygrave, S. ed. (1996) Approaching Literature: Romantic Writings, TheOpen University
Gray, M. and Gray, L. (2001) York Notes Advanced: Pride and Prejudice,Jane Austen, York Press, London
Page, N. (1985) MacmillanMaster Guides: Hard Times by Charles Dickens, Macmillan EducationLtd, London (“Romanticism (literature),” Microsoft® Encarta® 98 Encyclopedia. ©1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation.)
Watt, I. Ed. (1963) JaneAusten: A Collection of Critical Essays, Prentice-Hall Inc, USA