Hard times indicate that England’s overzealous embracing of industrialization threatens to convert humans into machines by discomforting the growth of their emotions and imaginations. This indication manifests majorly through the dealings of Gradgrind and his follower Bounderby: as the former teaches the infants of his family and his school in the path of fact, the latter treats the staff as unemotional items that are exploitable for his own wellbeing. Cecilia Jupe becomes a part in the Gragrind folks after her father abandoned her. Within the differing settings characters are associated to the automatic and natural surroundings (Dickens and Chlicke 78).
Mr. Bounderby would be interpreted as a man who is disconnected from the world and who understands his life as a separate entity to the world he resides in. He is arrogant, selfish, totally devoid of loving feelings and thoughtful of others and overall unpleasant character to be among Coketowners. Mr. Bounderby shows an insensitive and mechanical mode of accepted wisdom and exemplifies it regularly. On one instance his self-centeredness is evident when Mr. Blackpool inquires about the way he may be free of his wife, Mr. Bounderby never indicates any worry and tells him to mind his business. Mr. Bounderby finds nothing to gain from assisting Blackpool, but instead gives him uncaring response. Mr. Bounderby is a person who sees people about him as resources. For example he tells Mr. Blackpool that he is a stable hand. By this statement it’s apparent that he regards Mr. Blackpool as a tool and not a character with feelings and therefore human. To demonstrate the mechanical and non-emotional attribute, he declines to hire Thomas Gradgrind Jr before he completes his learning. He understands learning to be as cramming information. To humans awareness of point in time may be different in their experiences and they may not have a similar understanding or its value. Mr. Bounderby indicates to Mr. Childers that he could make more money than him at a particular time. This indicates that Bounderby measures his time in terms the money he makes. Whereas Mr. Childers says that we are a part of time and we live in it rather than alongside it. Mr. Bounderby’s character is clearly the characterization of a mechanical structure upon which Coketown was built and later the evidence of its failure as well. Mr. Bounderby boasts to every person of the injustice and struggles he underwent in his upbringing and boasts to be self made. However in the end he is revealed to be a liar and a fraud (Dickens and Chlicke 156).
In conclusion, Mr. Bounderby disregards people in his area; he sees them as means of improving his social and monetary power. From a mechanical point of view, Mr. Bounderby sees his workers as dispensable assets. He believes time has monetary value measured depending on how effectively he uses it to make revenue through people’s expertise (Dickens and Chlicke 203).
Mr. Gradgrind shows the center of his thought process of how we should observe the world. The core word is ‘fact’; he hammers this into the students he educates at school. He looks up to the world through truth and the future through data and never realizes the importance of consulting anything else. According to Mr. Gradgrind life is about figures, truth and calculations to find the exact solutions. He strongly believes wholly in mechanical system and is an illustration of the certainty in Coketown that everything worth knowing is in books. His name denotes qualities of measuring facts in an insensible way. For example in class he asked Cecilia Jupe to give the definition of a horse of which she is unable to. But of which Bitzer another student defines as a quadruped, sheds hoofs and coat during spring, hard hoofs that need to be covered with iron. Mr. Gradgrind is very satisfied with the definition. The characteristic of measuring and grinding both show mechanical characteristics. Mr. Gradgrin’s way of observing life and time is also a show of mechanical grinding since he views it without involving human attributes. He does not understand Cecilia when she says that she has gone to fetch her father and that she would be back in a minute. Mr. Gradgrin could not understand what she meant by a minute since she would to take more than a minute. He is so mechanized that he cannot interpret figurative speech. Mr. Gradgrin comprehension of life makes it hard for him to recognize others. For instance when Louisa his daughter receives a marriage proposal from Mr. Bounderby, Mr. Gradgrin could not understand why Louisa asks questions like whether he believes whether Mr. Bounderby loves her. He takes the situation to be straightforward such that Bounderby asks her to marry him, she asks herself whether she would marry him in relation to their prevailing position and means and there should be nothing more. He doesn’t consider anything else when matching the two together apart from their social position, knowledge and the general facts with reference to the subject (Dickens and Chlicke 178).
Cecilia jupe is a total opposite of Mr. Bounderby, she is humane and emotionally conscious. She robustly possesses human characteristics such as affection, optimism and sympathy. According to Mr. Gradgrin to have hope is to challenge realistic and rational facts. Cecilia defies these when she hoped that her father would one day return. She is disheartened when she was introduced to a critical difference in viewing time between her, Mr. Bounderby and Mr. Gradgrin. Currently Mr. Bounderby perceives her father’s neglect as permanent. There is no likelihood for the future in his thoughts. Mr. Gradgrin too believes that Cecilia is punishing herself by having meaningless expectation of reunion. Mr. Gradgrin’s wife possesses an equal attitude, we are at present, concerning Louisa’s persistent query about any letters from her father while residing at stone lodge (Douglas 70).
tension between mechanics and nature ends with Cecilia maintaining her natural
attributes. The novel enlightens us by indicating if we are to live by
mechanical philosophy we should follow our moral certainty irrespective of the
Dickens, Charles, and Paul Schlicke. Hard Times. Oxford: Oxford University Press, UK, 1989. Print.
David C. William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964. Print.
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