Dickens's Hard Times as a Great Novel

Hard Times is considered as one of the genius works of Charles Dickens. There are three plot sequences in the novel, one centering round Thomas Gradgrind and his family, including Sissy, the second centering round Josiah Bounderby and the third relating to Stephen Blackpool and Rachel.

Charles Dickens

All these sub-plots are tightly interconnected and integrated into an interesting story. There are no superfluous incidents or characters and no digressions to confuse the readers. The main characters in the novel are representative of certain concepts or ideas. There are certain characters who are individuals and realistic portrayal of living human beings of Victorian times.

Dickens also arouses pathetic and miserable condition of different characters in his novel. There is Sissy’s miserable condition when as a young girl, she is abandoned by her loving father. Louisa is married to Boundrby in spite his being 30 years senior to her and there is no love between them. Stephen’s sorrow, his drunkard wife, his love for Rachael and ultimately his death is enough to evoke the pathetic condition to the readers.

Dickens is considered as one of the greatest humorists in Egnlsih Literature and Hard Times is full of humor. It is primarily a satirical novel, using all the weapons of satire as irony, sarcasm, mockery, ridicule etc. The main target of satire is upon Gradgrind, Bounderby, Mrs. Sparsit, Harthouse and Tom. They are attacked for their misleading philosophies, their greed, their vanities and their false values in life. There is also playful and indulgent humor, especially in Mr. Gradgrind, Mr. Sleary, Mrs. Sparsit and Blitzer.