What do you consider the major moral lesson in Hard Times by Charles Dickens?
The major moral lesson Hard Times teaches is that living a life of utilitarian material calculation, rather than a life of empathy, feeling, and imagination, leads to misery.
The main moral lesson in Hard Times is that industrialization, if unchecked, can turn human beings into machines, into cogs in a vast system of production. Such a process involves the deliberate suppression of human emotions and the imagination. Under such a system, education exists to cram children’s heads full of facts; there is no place for imagination or empathy. Mr. Gradgrind isn’t concerned with broadening the horizons of his pupils, or encouraging them to think about the world around them. He simply wants to prepare students to be the next generation of industrial automata, robots toiling away for long hours in the factories that are springing up all over the length and breadth of the country.
Utilitarians like Gradgrind have a very impoverished view of human nature, which they see as being readily quantifiable, as something that can be measured, calculated, and controlled. The idea that there are always hidden depths to human nature doesn’t occur to him for a moment. As far...
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