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Charles Dickens Hard Times Romantic Tragedy or Proletariat Propaganda In Hard Times Charles Dickens gives us a close-up look into what appears to be the ivory tower of the bourgeoisie of his day yet these middle-class characters are viewed from a singular perspective the perspective of those at the bottom of the social and economic system Though Dickens characters tend to be well developed and presented with a thoroughly human quality the stereotypical figure of arrogant and demanding Bounderby fails to accurately capture the motivations and attitudes of the typical successful businessman of the day and is an indication of the authors political motives Hard Times rather than presenting a historically accurate picture of the extraordinary changes brought about by the industrial revolution is a one-sided attack on the utilitarian value system of the middle 19th century based upon emotional blue-collar appeals for labour sympathy that are not uncommon in todays corporate environment Josiah Bounderby of Coketown represents the utilitarian attitude and as such is the villain of the story and clearly the target of Dickens political argument Dickens characterizes Bounderby as a powerful individual driven by greed and guided by a distorted view of human nature He is the only wealthy industrialist introduced in Hard Times although Mr Sleary might arguably be considered the more virtuous businessman Dickens clearly portrays Bounderby as a greedy and individualistic self-serving capitalist rather than an insightful forward-looking crafter of a new industrial age Dickens artfully weaves his political enemy into a pompous arrogant image reinforced with traditional working-class themes that lead the reader to conclude that Bounderby as a manifestation of Gradgrinds and Choakumchilds philosophy of fact represents all that is wrong with industrial society Dickens apparently expects his readers to accept his portrayal of Bounderby as being typical of this new breed of industrialists but the character reflects none of the beginnings of modern scientific principles of management date emerging in the first half of the
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