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In the novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens, the motif of time is found. Dickens’s perception of time is that it is mechanized and very structured. He writes that there are two different kinds of time, man-made time and natural time. The concept of man-made time is embodied by the “deadly statistical clock” (Dickens 72). The clock in Mr. Bounderby’s study measures every passing second. Natural time is something that will never stop, and cannot be controlled by anyone. Dickens writes that nature is the only thing to bring change to the structure and monotony of Coketown. Time can only be measured by people, they have no control over it.
In the novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens, the concept of education is found. The characters in the novel teach the reader that education is not only memorizing information, but also the lessons that life teaches. Mr. Gradgrind, one of the teachers in the school, wants to educate his students through facts alone. He says, “Now what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life” (Dickens 1). Mr. Gradgrind feels that people should have no creativity in their lives or be able to use their imagination. Mr. Gradgrind feels that by teaching only facts to his students, they will lead lives of reason. Dickens writes that life lessons are the groundwork for morals and values. If a person only learns facts, they will lead a life that is corrupt and out of line. Education needs to have a balance between facts and creativity, in order that a student can be free to express themselves. Dickens criticizes those that only have facts in their life. Creativity in education will boost the morality in students and make them want to learn more facts.
In the novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens, the motif of poverty is found. Mr. Bounderby was raised in the lowest social class, and worked his way up to the top of the hierarchy. In regards to his home, he says, “for I was born in a ditch” (Dickens 11). Mr. Bounderby comments on the fact that he grew up in a ditch in the ground and a pigsty, but eventually became a wealthy banker. Dickens is trying to tell the reader that it does not matter if you only have a little as a child, you must work towards becoming successful as you grow older. However, Mr. Bounderby teaches a valuable lesson regarding wealth. When Mr. Bounderby leaves his house, he refuses to wear gloves because he says that he did not wear them when he was at the bottom of the social class. He shows the reader that you do not need everything in life. Through Mr. Bounderby, Dickens is able to express his thoughts regarding the various social classes of this time period.