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Commentary on Hard Times Essay


Around the years of the industrial age, author Charles Dickens managed to create an exquisite novel known as Hard Times which has left a lasting impression in literary history. Dickens uses this novel in order to portray the difficult lifestyle during this time, and to show the unjust working situations for the industry workers. With the innovation of advanced quality of machines, the industry demanded vigorous working situations for its workers. In order to portray this image, Dickens created the character Stephen Blackpool in order to illustrate the struggle of an honest man during hard times. Thus, Dickens portrays Stephen Blackpool to be faithful, unlucky and a man of principles throughout his appearances in the book.

Dickens first introduces Blackpool in chapter ten by simply defining the harsh living conditions he lives in. The line In the hardest working part of Coketown;(10) already demonstrates the hard working nature that Blackpool possesses and helps give the reader a sense of his nature. Dickens also shows the reader the faithfulness Blackpool possesses by his actions with his wife, and the faithfulness to his employees although neither is faithful back. Dickens makes it obvious of his desire for a separation of his wife so that he can be with Rachael, however, he does not act on his desire out of faithfulness to the law. Another example of his faithfulness is when Bounderby asks him to spy on his fellow workers and he refuses which results in being sent away. Dickens makes it to where Blackpool is constantly challenged in always trying to be faithful even under harsh conditions. The reason is to portray the life of the challenges that face an honest industrial worker trying to make an honest living.

In order to keep up with his faithful nature, Blackpool also portrays a man of principles throughout his lifestyle. This type of trait caused distress to him in his work and his personal life until his death. Because of his principles, Blackpool has never been able to act on his thoughts of killing his wife in order to be free from her once and for all. However, sometimes his principles are challenged such as the time when his wife nearly drank the poison and he simply sat there and watched. It feels as if Dickens put that scene in the story in order to show how even honest people can sometimes falter in harsh lifestyles.

A man with genuine characteristics such that Blackpool portrays is shunned to failure in a book such as Hard Times. For instance, Blackpool becomes challenged to defend himself in trying to free his name of a crime he failed to commit, and while he heads back to Coketown to free himself from this accusation, he falls in a shaft and dies. This shows the common saying why do bad things happen to good people and only leaves the reader to believe that Dickens models Blackpool to portray the vigorous life of a worker during this time. It seems as if no matter what Blackpool tried to do to get ahead; his unlucky nature would always set him back until it got the best of him. With all of the unlucky situations faced to Blackpool, he never seemed to falter from his genuine behavior.

The truth to the appearances in the book holds to the truth that Blackpools unlucky, faithful and principled nature models the life of tragic dismay. Dickens wanted to show the life of a honest man who has unlucky encounters in life in order to portray the life in this era and accomplishes this with Blackpool. In the end, Dickens once again delivers

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