Dickens's purpose in Hard Times was to satirize the utilitarian philosophy that recognized only the value of human reason, neglecting not only what Dickens calls in the novel "fancy" but also the values of the human heart. Dickens also wanted to highlight the harsh, monotonous lives of factory workers and to criticize the laissez-faire economic philosophy of the marketplace.
Hard Times has not usually been regarded as one of Dickens's finest novels. While some critics do regard it highly, others argue that the characters do not fully come to life. According to this view, Dickens's didactic purpose stifled his comic genius and his ability to tell an entertaining story. Be that as it may, Hard Times remains a powerful exposure of the ills of nineteenth-century industrialism and the philosophy that turned a blind eye to its inadequacies and injustices.