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Word Count: 983
Hard Times offers a critique of the Utilitarian ideology from a romantic perspective Hard Times demonstrates that one cannot reason oneself to happiness but that relying solely on the faculties of the mind will not fulfill the complexities of the human being John Stuart Mills in his paper Utilitarianism proposed the philosophy is not something to be contradistinguished from pleasure but pleasure itself together with exemption from pain and instead of opposing the useful to the agreeable or the ornamental However Dickens did not find this harmony to be a possible outcome of the rigidity of logic but found the imagination to be a more fertile ground for producing happiness Dickens wrote of utilitarianism as it was applied during British industrialization In the economic climate of the Industrial Revolution capitalism prevailed and social equality was more rhetoric than practice Capitalism combined with the philosophy to put an emphasis on the individual achieving his or her own goals rather than focus on the greater good Mills did believe in the greater good but Dickens believed a very logical approach to life would pervert this ideal Rationalization could overcome virtue by creating mechanical sensibility devoid of caring which plays an important part in maintaining morals Throughout Hard Times Louisa expresses apathy towards life when she asks why she should care about important events even being married Rather than suspect something is wrong the other characters believe she is being logical Such a response is acceptable to them even though it is an expression of her unhappiness Through this example Dickens makes the point reason alone is not enough guidance for a human beings happiness None of the characters that follow the utilitarian lifestyle are truly happy Only Sissy who fails to be taught to be so logical is actually happy Dickens wrote his characters to express emotion or care after realizing how flawed logic can be when applied to human nature After Mr Gradgrind
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