Hard Times

Problems with Industrial Capitalism as Depicted in Hard Times College

Charles Dickens’ Hard Times is a critique of the issues of 19th-century European industrial capitalism. Dickens uses Coketown and its inhabitants to draw parallels to the real-life experiences of the British during this time period. Industrialization is notable for producing more efficient and mechanized methods of producing goods but Dickens makes the point that it is also mechanizing human interaction. Similar to the mathematical and methodical function of a factory, life in Coketown is also reduced to numbers and statistical values. Comparatively, the factory of industrial capitalism not only produces identical products but identical people with identical values.

“You saw nothing in Coketown but what was severely workful”. In this quote, Dickens outlines Coketown as a solely industrial town whose function is to produce goods for the owner of the town factory, Mr. Bounderby. Factories produce identical products and the city of Coketown itself seems to a product from the factory of industrial capitalism. As Dickens describes, Coketown “contained several large streets all very like one another, and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same...

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