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In his novel Hard Times, an ongoing struggle ensues between the ideas of ‘fact’ and ‘fancy’– or the ‘head’ and ‘heart.’ The rivalry between these philosophies is a central theme to the Hard Times, not to mention a fundamental crux of human existence as well.Should an individual base his life on fact and rationality, or should he live by the whims of his imagination and fancy, following his heart?
Dickens uses abundant imagery to give descriptions of Gradgrind’s physical appearance, which is decidedly severe and methodical, including his “square forefinger,” “square wall of a forehead”–as if the shape of a square itself denotes the very notion of ‘fact’–and eyes which “found commodious cellarage in two dark caves.” Later his face is more generally described as “unbending” and “utilitarian,” and on the whole, every aspect of his appearance serves to emphasize his rigid devotion to cold facts and his thorough disregard of any sort of non-factual nonsense.Just as Gadgrind rigorously enforces his utilitarian standards in his school, he is equally fervent in adhering to these principles in his own home.He genuinely believes that his ideals are essential to leading a successful, productive existence, and instructs his children accordingly, applying his “mechanical art and mystery of educating the reason without stooping to the cultivation of the sentiments and affections.” Louisa and Tom must absorb enormous amounts of factual knowledge from an early age, while, simultaneously, their father systematically represses and eradicates any notions of wonder or imagination that they might entertain, chiding them, “Never wonder! Gradgrind seeks through his parental guidance to elicit the same results as in his school–the transformation of children into machine-like workers, lacking in personality yet supposedly ideal for efficiently performing the monotonous, repetitive labors of industrial Coketown.The characters begin to “sow” or plant their identities, and we can now see the framework of the first book. Due to studies, the English Parliament tried to bring about reforms in working conditions to ease some of the poverty and other problems they were facing.In the second book, we can see that the characters are beginning to “reap” what sowed in the Also, during this time there was an increase in the number of immigrants, which resulted in the increase of diseases and hunger for many people in the laboring class. They came up with the Health Act on 1802, the Reform Bill in 1832, and various other acts and bills.Malthus believed that the evolution of mankind existed in cycles.Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student.This is not an example of the work produced by our Essay Writing Service.You can view samples of our professional work here.The people who lived in these houses were dependent on the government and were subject to inhumane treatment from their cruel supervisors.We can see how Dickens ties this aspect of the revolution into his book in the chapter where Stephen Blackpool is introduced (Dickens, chapter X).