Hard Times Essay

957 Words May 5th, 2002 4 Pages
.Hard Times

In the novel Hard Times, by Charles Dickens, we can immediately see the problems that occurred in England around the times period of the mid 18oo's. Dickens shows us how the class system works and what the economy was then and what it would shape out to be. This novel is split into three books, the "Sowing", "Reaping", and "Garnering". In the first book, we can see that it is aptly named because we begin to learn about who the characters are and what they are about. The characters begin to "sow" or plant their identities, and we can now see the framework of the first book. In the second book, we can see that the characters are beginning to "reap" what sowed in the first book. They sowed seeds of unkindness, logic,
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In 1834, they came up with the Poor Law, which provided for workhouses. The poor people, who were accustomed to living where they pleased, resented this law because it obliged them to live with there families in workhouses. The people who lived in these houses were dependent on the government and were subject to inhumane treatment from their cruel supervisors. We can see how Dickens ties this aspect of the revolution into his book in the chapter where Stephen Blackpool is introduced (Dickens, chapterX). Thomas Malthus and Adam Smith are two of the enlightened thinkers whose works and theories Dickens embraced in this novel. Thomas Robert Malthus wrote an essay on the effects of population and the food supply titled "An Essay on the Principle of Population". Malthus believed that the evolution of mankind existed in cycles. Good times occurred when there were high wages and good living conditions, which led to early marriages and rapid population increase. Then come the bad times (Malthus 156). In the novel this is shown when Bounderby marries Louisa. This time seems really good for Bounderby; his business was doing well and his status as a prominent factory owner was still in tack. Disease, low wages, and epidemics lead to population decrease and a restored balance between population and resources. This cycle then repeats. He also felt that the Poor Laws, which attempted to support those whose incomes were too low to support themselves, were in the

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