"Hard Times is a passionate attack on contemporary Victorian society." Justify your statement with references to the novel.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that the statement is true.  There is much in Dickens' work that moves past literature and into the realm of social criticism.  Gradgrind, himself, is a product of the Enlightenment and Industrialization Era.  His emphasis on "fact, not fancy" is revealed to have left an emotional quotient lacking in his children, something that is not missed by his daughter, Louisa.  When she criticizes her father for failing to teach her how to feel, something that Gradgrind would have viewed as "fancy," he, and the reader, fully understand the pitfalls of a world solely driven by utilitarianism and industrialization.  Characters such as Bounderby were shown to represent how industrialists cling to free market principles in order to perpetuate abuses upon workers that enable owners to become more wealthy at the cost of others.  The world of Coketown is depicted as one where the values and practices of capitalism and industrialization produce a realm where questions have to be raised about the direction of society and its impact on those who are the most vulnerable.

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