Coketown Essay

1295 Words6 Pages
Hard Times takes a hard, unsympathetic look at Utilitarianism. . Utilitarianism was a prevalent school of thought during the mid victorian period, its most famous proponents being Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. its goal being: "the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people.".This no-nonsense movement relied heavily on statistics, rules and regulations. Individualism and imagination are not highly valued in this philosophy.Dickens was appalled by what was, in his interpretation, a selfish philosophy, where the majority of the population were workers who were getting only few amount of money and on the oter hand the factory owners were gettign all the profits and money into their pockets. Dickens depicts in Hard Times how a world where society strives for the greater good for the greater number could look like in the worst case; the labourers of Coketown suffer because the English economy as a whole benefits from their work. since,utilitarianism goes hand in hand with the removal of humanistic education in favour of an education built on natural sciences (which developed in the 19 th century), it goes without saying that the educational system also is under the critique of Dickens. Thomas Gradgrind, one of the protagonists of the novel, runs a model school, which is designed according to a utilitarian educational system. There children are taught only 'useful' things, i.e. "fact[s], fact[s], fact[s]" (6), and imagination is considered to be a horrible waste of time. "now what i want is facts...plant nothing else and root out everything else" Like Bitzer, the model pupil of the model school, "Coketown is the product of Gradgrind's system of facts" (Allingham). infact,Coketown"keynote" plays an important role in the working out of Gradgrinds philosophy. But,on the other hand speking clearly Dickens through Coketown shows the
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