Charles Dickens’ Hard TimesCharles Dickens’s Hard Times is one of the most important novels in theVictorian Age. He presents an industrial society in nineteenth centuryin England. In this age, England prospers in manufacture and tradebecause of high technologies. It is also a time of trouble. Industrialdevelopment causes terrible conditions of a working class. The workersare poor and work hard. Women and children work for many hours.Dickens also presents bad social condition through his work and alsoshows lives of city people and industrial society in Coketown inEngland. In Hard times, Dickens has a compassion for the workers andcalls for the readers’ sympathy by showing the workers’ hardshipsthrough Stephen Blackpool, a worker who is honest, innocent, generousand full of integrity. However, facing dead-end situations, StephenBlackpool is the most pathetic figure.
Stephen Blackpool is the most suffered and submissive worker. Althoughhe is good, skilful and diligent power-loom weaver, his life is notmuch improved, but he has to work for survival. Dickens presents thatmost of Coketown citizens are workers. He says that they are “generically called ‘ the Hands’- a race who would have found morefavor with some people, if the Providence had seen fit to make themonly hands, or, like the lower creatures of the seashore, only handsand stomachs- lived a certain Stephen Blackpool, for forty years ofage.” Dickens comments on the terrible lives of workers. The word “generically” presents that the workers can’t rise in the world becausethey have no education and have not enough money to make their livesbetter and comfortable. Their children must face the hardship such asworking hard and …
…asks forsolution to improve the workers’ lives because this is an importantproblem.
The setting increases the compassion for Stephen. It is dark andsilent. Everybody mourns for him, and the darkness symbolizes sorrowand death. This picture also shows Rachael’s love for Stephen. Shekneels on the grass, clasp his hand and tries to comfort although hehurts badly and is going to die.
This picture shows the relationship between Stephen Blackpool, hiswife and Rachael. Stephen and Rachael love each other, but he can’tdivorce his wife because of the high expense in lawsuit that he can’tafford. Rachael is good and generous woman who takes care of Stephen’swife. She is like an angel, light and shining star. On the contrary,his wife is helpless and alcoholic. She increases Stephen’s burden andtries to commit suicide, but Rachael can save her life.