Sample Essay

Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, first published in 1854, is often cited as a classic example to illustrate the relationship between literature and class struggle.  As a journalist, Dickens had campaigned for issues like better sanitation and housing, but it was mainly through his fictional writings, such as Hard Times, that he was able to highlight the class inequalities and social injustice at the very heart of the Victorian Empire and, hence, mould public opinion in favor of a more just social order.

In Hard Times, Dickens was able to masterfully depict the exploitative relationship between Adam Smith’s capitalist forces, as unleashed by the Industrial Revolution, and the disadvantaged proletariat, as “Hands” that are treated as mere parts of the machines that they operate upon and hence are as disposable and replaceable as a mechanical organ.  Similarly, the Fleet Prison shutdown was thought to have been greatly influenced by the prison scenes as depicted by Dickens in The Pickwick Papers. (Dickens 25)

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