Charles Dickens and Karl Marx

Literature / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
This paper examines whether Charles Dickens embraces Marxist principles in his novel “Hard Times”.

This paper explores Dickens’s support and elaboration on Marx’s critiques of Industrial Society,however, it fails to embrace communism. If “Hard Times” is a response to The Communist Manifesto, then Dickens chooses to take a more moderate view than Marx. This paper shows how Dickens’s novel basically comes down to a morality tale in which those who are `good` are rewarded, or at the very least martyred, and those who are `bad` face punishment for their deeds.
Charles Dickens wrote his novel Hard Times only a few years after Karl Marx outlined his philosophical principles in The Communist Manifesto. Although Hard Times is a fictional work written for entertainment, it can be seen as a response to Marx’s representation of class inequality. Dickens espouses many of Marx’s political views by attacking the capitalist, or bourgeois system of thought. In particular, Dickens supports Marx in his portrait of commodification and of class oppression. However, instead of envisioning a revolution, as Marx does, Dickens leans more towards reform as a solution.


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