Hard Times Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

Hard Times book cover
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What could one speculate about Dickens’s opinion of the growth of factory cities based on the repetition of phrases like “like one another” and “the same” or the description of how “the jail might have been the infirmary, the infirmary might’ve been the jail” in Hard Times?

One could speculate that Dickens's opinion of the growth of factory cities is an entirely negative one based on the repeated phrases and descriptions of Coketown in Hard Times. Dickens was opposed to utilitarianism and describes the ugly, repetitive designs of the buildings in Coketown in order to critique the aesthetic and spiritual failings of the philosophy.

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The description of Coketown that Dickens's narrator provides suggests that Dickens feels unhappy and disdainful about the lack of poetry and beauty in the appearance of the new factory cities that were springing up in response to the industrial revolution. He dislikes the repetition in the design of the buildings and the way that one building can be interchanged with another regardless of function: the infirmary for the jail for the town hall. Everything...

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