Hard Times Themes

This Study Guide consists of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Hard Times.
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Human Machinery

Throughout the novel, Dickens sends a clear message to his reader about the dangers in “mechanizing” the human race. This is explored through two characters, Gradgrind and Bounderby. First, Gradgrind seeks to turn his students into little “machines” by filling them with Fact alone, leaving no room for imagination or fantasy. The reader sees the effects of this school of thought most clearly in Bitzer’s character. As a child, Bitzer is the model student, able to memorize facts and regurgitate them on command, just like a computer. As an adult, however, he is unable to stray from his mechanized role, which almost leads to malfunction. He is completely unable to process emotion, and is therefore clueless when it comes to the case against Tom. He cannot comprehend why anyone would want to stray from the fact of law, and therefore cannot understand why Tom should set...

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This section contains 1,114 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Hard Times Study Guide
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