We know that Dicken's novels depict the hard realities of the Victorian period and most of the social reforms carried out in the second half of nineteenth century received their initial input from his novels. He made a panoramic survey of almost all walks of life, particulary urban, and very skilfully displayed all the evils he observed. He knew that they had to be rooted out to make human life more comfortable in our society. The greatest misery he found was exploitation of the poor. Hard Times
is a novel which depict the birth of capitalism and the misuse of economy. Mr. Gradgrind gladly grinds everything in his society to gratify his ego. Among the new generation being victimized are the two children, Tom and Louisa. The story reveals how Tom turns corrupt,and how the innocent girl, Louisa's life is ruined by Gradgrind and his friend, Bounderby.Bounderby married her, though she was thirty years younger to him. Everything in this society is done with the sole consideration of money. Emotion or love has no place. Two plus two is the only fact on which life moves. Schools are there only to promote the type of education which can add material benefits.
Industries and factories mushroomed andthe city got crowded without caring about sanitation or health. While people get choked with black smoke and lived a miserable life, the rich continued to exploit them. Realizing the future hazards of Bentham's utilitarian theory, Dickens wanted to expose the ill effect of such an economy through his novel, Hard Times
. With his biting satire he stripped the profit-motivated morality of the budding capitalists of his time through his characters. No doubt, things have changed, life cannot be exploited the way we found it in the Victorian period. However, it is worth considering whether Gradgrinds have not resurrected in a global way in this age of Information Technology, and whether the cyber-coolies, who remain grued to the computer for hours together, are not exploited in a civilized way.