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In Hard Times, Charles Dickens takes his readers through a guided tour of Nineteenth century England as we see elements of this society depicted in the text under studies.

   Nineteenth Century England was characterized by class distinction, a lifestyle portrayed in the text with the aristocrats enjoying privileges which the lower class was deprived of. Divorce, for instance, was uncommon among the lower orders because of the high cost involved. This is why Stephen Blackpool is unable to detach himself from his drunken wife, irrespective of his tearful pleas with Mr Bounderby, when he narrates his matrimonial ordeals to the latter. He is poor and is unable to meet the complicated and expensive requirements to obtain a divorce. Thus, he remains condemned to live, even against his wish with his drunken wife. On the other hand Bounderby is rich and has the licence to tell Louisa to remain in her father's house if the deadline given her by her husband bounderby elapses. He can do so with impunity. This is an aspect of 19th century England depicted in Hard Times.

   The 19th Century England experienced the advent of the industrial revolution where machines replaced manual labour. Hard Times deals with human emotional life ruined by calculation and routine. It reveals the effects of the industrial revolution on the lives of men, women and children. Life that was supposed to be complex had been reduced to a matter of routine. In line with the industrial revolution, the workers in Hard Times referred to as Hands are subjected to deplorable working conditions and very low pay. "The Hands" in Mr Bounderby's factories are, to say the least, treated as sub- human beings. That is why they are called "Hands." Shephen Blackpool, an employee works all his life and has nothing to boast of, until he dies miserably. This is an event in the text which mirrors 19th Century England.

   Victorian hypocrisy and greed are also anchored in the text. Bounderby builds and fosters his reputation on falsehood. He purports to be a "self-made man" and through this act of hypocrisy shuns responsibility over his mother. He boastfully narrates to whoever is ready to give a listening ear, of how he rose from a humble beginning and carved his way up to affluence through hard work. The truth comes to light through the accidental discovery of Mrs Pegler, his biological mother who sacrificed to give him a decent upbringing. This discovery of Boundaby's personality contributes enormously to his downfall.

   Finally, in Hard Times, Dickens depicts the 19th Century system of education. This system of education placed a lot of emphasis on facts and stifled sentimentality, fancy and imagination. Mr Gradgrind a proponent of the philosophy of hard facts( utilitarianism) is the proprietor of the School of Fact, with Mc Mchoakoumchild as the school master to train the children in hard facts. However, this system of education becomes an unmitigated disaster attracting Dickens' satire. Louisa's education fails because the utilitarian education turns her into an emotionless and tasteless girl. Both the proponents and the products of the hard facts school end up s failure.

From the above discussion we can therefore conclude that in Hard Times Charles Dickens mirrors 19th Century England.

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