The book is a state-of-the-nation novel, which aimed to highlight the social and economic pressures that some people were experiencing. Unlike other such writings at the time, the novel is unusual in that it is not set in London (as was also Dickens' usual wont), but in the fictitious Victorian industrial town of Coke town, often claimed to be based on Preston.
In Hard Times Dickens shows his dislike for education in the Victorian age. He shows his dislike in many different ways through out the novel. Some examples of these are through Mr. M Gradgrind, the Schoolroom and also through the meaning of names.
Dickens describes Mr. Gradgrind as a cold, machine like character. The only thing he taught was Facts, facts and more facts. Dickens uses Mr. M Gradgrind in this way to put across his message of how Young children are treated in the Victorian education system.
In Hard times Dickens uses the meaning of names to describe how the Characters act and to get his point across. The name Mr. M Choakumchild Suggests that If the child does not do what do what they are told them he would Garrote them. Also the Name of the other Hard, Mean teacher Mr. Gradgrind Implies to the reader that the teacher will crush the student in to the ground if they do not do what they are told.
Also, Dickens uses the setting of the School room to portray a certain message. He describes the Classroom as very gloomy and enclosed from the out-side world. He also mentions a ray of sunlight breaking in and reaching a young child. This tells the reader that you should very lucky if you got any sunlight in a classroom at all and that what ever happens to you in there will not be known on the out-side.
On the other hand, the students them selves are used by Dickens to portray a message to the audience. Two characters from the play, Sissy and Bitzer are treated very unfairly as if they answered using only there imagination they would be punished as the only things they learn are Facts, facts and more facts where as today we are encouraged to use our imagination. When Dickens is describing them he is insinuating to the reader how cruelly the children are treated by using emotive language. View More »