Hard Times Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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Is Hard Times a realist novel?

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Realism in literature is identified by literary critics as a method of presenting human experiences as they actually occur. In the nineteenth century, it arose as a style that purported to be the opposite of romanticism. Whereas romantic literature tells stories using fancy language and elaborate imagery, realistic literature attempts to present straightforward facts. Unlike romantic novels that paint pictures of the way life ought to be by describing picturesque, fantastic adventures, realistic novels portray life as it actually appears to ordinary people.

Charles Dickens (1812–1870) spent his literary life fighting injustice and exposing the struggles of the underprivileged and the exploitation of impoverished laborers. He penned the novel Hard Times as a social protest. Since a realistic novel is one that deals with the plight of the common man, it is safe to label the book as a realistic novel.

Hard Times is set in a fictitious English city at the height of the Industrial Revolution, which...

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