- 『어려운 시절』에 나타난 내재적 개혁성
- Alternative Title
- Intended Reform in Hard Times
- Publication Year
- This study aims to examine the novel Hard Times as Dickens's humanistic attempt at social reform of his contemporary utilitarian thinking. Dickens believed the root cause of social evils was not in social systems or governmental regulations, but in a lack of humane treatment to one another in society. He did not advocate any immediate political radicalism in Hard Times, but rather maintained hope and opened a new vision for a better life through highlighting the inward value of people. A close character analysis reveals what happens to the characters who have experienced utter degradation when they were repressed by misguided materialistic beliefs, and how this in turn influenced their morality and social consciousness.
Utilitarianism, the most liberal idea of the Victorian age, fostered the strict philosophical thoughts of mechanical value, which only cares for hard facts and reasons. Dickens attacks this materialistic trend that produced a cold-hearted and distorted human view. The industrial revolution, combined with the laissez-faire economic doctrine, also is presented as another major target for criticism in Hard Times. The author harshly condemned the heartlessness of capitalism and selfishness of the bourgeoisie which aggravated the alienation of industrial workers. By creating Gradgrind and Stephen Blackpool, Dickens not only symbolizes the sterile thinking of utilitarian reformers, but also criticizes the governmental system which gave rise to torturing the working class.
Dickens clearly demonstrates that inhumanity provoked by nineteenth century materialism can only be dealt with by changing man's inward value. He sought to develop this vision through appealing to human feelings, solidarity and spiritual life which shown in the circus troupe and Sissy. The human qualities of innocence and spontaneity, which Sissy shared with the circus people, served to provide convincing evidence for Dickens's human reform. This kind of belief is deployed through his characters to evoke and sustain the animating quality of human life in Hard Times.
The introductory section gives a brief overview of Dickens and his works. Chapter two describes the historical background of the Victorian age. The next two chapters explore Dickens's symbolic patterns and unique conditions of his intended reform, represented in such characters as Gradgrind and Stephen Blackpool. The fourth chapter looks at Dickens's most obvious and sustained humanistic transformation through demonstrating ideal lifestyle of Sissy and the characters in the circus troupe. This study concludes by suggesting that Dickens played a certain part in opening a new vision for a better life in a mechanical age by stressing humane interactions and that he should be regarded alongside of his contemporaries who are acknowledged as pro-humanists.
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