Hard Times

Black Pools of Tragedy

Charles Dicken's Hard Times is a novel depicting the destructive forces of utilitarianism on the modern world following the Industrial Revolution. Through the vivid characters interwoven throughout the text, Dickens exemplifies the devastation caused by the mechanization and dehumanization of human beings as factory workers. This central theme is most readily seen in the tragic character of Stephen Blackpool and the unbefitting repetition of struggles he is forced to endure for the sake of morality and personal integrity. Even Stephen's last name alludes to the somber, black pools of tragedy that immerse his life as a humble factory worker. Dickens uses the setting in which Stephen Blackpool lives, as well as his appearance, speech, social interactions, and death, to unashamedly attack the destructive nature of utilitarianism.

In the tenth chapter of Dicken's Book the First, Stephen Blackpool is first introduced as a character in the drab Coketown factory setting. "In the hardest working part of Coketown...where Nature was as strongly bricked out as killing airs and gases were bricked in...the whole an unnatural family, shouldering, and trampling, and pressing one another to death...among the multitude of...

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