Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Blue-collar Appeal of Hard Times Essay -- Dickens Hard Times Essay

The Blue-collar Appeal of Hard Times   Ã‚   In Hard Times, Charles Dickens gives us a close-up look into what appears to be the ivory tower of the bourgeoisie of his day, yet these middle-class characters are viewed from a singular perspective, the perspective of those at the bottom of the social and economic system. Though Dickens’ characters tend to be well developed and presented with a thoroughly human quality, the stereotypical figure of arrogant and demanding Bounderby fails to accurately capture the motivations and attitudes of the typical successful businessman of the day and is an indication of the author’s political motives. Hard Times, rather than presenting a historically accurate picture of the extraordinary changes brought about by the industrial revolution, is a one-sided attack on the utilitarian value system of the middle 19th century based upon emotional blue-collar appeals for labor sympathy that are not uncommon in today’s corporate environment.   Ã‚  Ã‚   Josiah Bounderby of Coketown represents the utilitarian attitude and, as such, is the villain of the story and clearly the target of Dickens’ political argument. Dickens characterizes Bounderby as a powerful individual, driven by greed and guided by a distorted view of human nature. He is the only wealthy industrialist introduced in Hard Times, although Mr. Sleary might arguably be considered the more virtuous businessman. Dickens clearly portrays Bounderby as a greedy and individualistic, self-serving capitalist; rather than an insightful, forward-looking crafter of a new industrial age. Dickens artfully weaves his political enemy into a pompous, arrogant image reinforced with traditional working-class themes that lead the reader to conclude that Bounderby, ... ...nate and truly human society should strive to benefit all classes of its citizens.    Works Cited Coolidge, Archibald C., Jr. Charles Dickens as Serial Novelist. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1967. Hayek, F. A., ed. Capitalism and the Historians. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1954. Laughlin, J. Lawrence. The Elements of Political Economy. New York, NY: 1896. Malthus, Thomas. First Essay on Population, 1798. London, England: Macmillan & Company. 1926. Marx, Karl. "Capital." Great Books of the Western World. Vol. 50. Ed. Robert Hutchins. Chicago, IL: Encyclopà ¦dia Britannica. 1982. Veblen, Thorstein. Selected Writings of Thorstein Veblen. Ed. Wesley C. Mitchell. New York, NY: Viking Press. 1947. Wilson, John F. British Business History: 1720-1994. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press. 1995.      

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