The “Honorable” Gentlemen in Hard Times

Mahmut Terci


Although ‘Mr. Gradgrind’ and ‘Mr. Bounderby’ have higher class status in Hard Times, Dickens ironically describe them as ‘honorable’ gentlemen who cause immense destruction both in educational and economical institutions. On the one hand, as a politician and a father ‘Mr. Gradgrind’ grinds or destroys his children as well as other kids’ imagination and sense of wondering in their learning process at home and school. Mr. Gradgrind regrets a lot in the end when he sees what he has corrupted in the nature of his children. While the children are educated with facts only, their feelings, imaginations and natural wonderings are neglected consciously. On the other hand, as a social climber, wealthy ‘Mr. Bounderby’ who always boasts his self-made richness, behaves unfaithfully to his mother – who always deserves respect and close care from their own children–. He also humiliates his ‘hands’ or workers and squeezes them as much as he can. While the workers work hard to survive, their practical, individual and social needs are not only unseen but they are also considered nonsense by their ill-mannered, dishonorable and unscrupulous boss named Mr. ‘Bounderby’ by Dickens. Although Hard Times is one of the shortest novels of Dickens, he makes, through it, a great difference and contribution to the society by warning the people with the descriptions of the devious gentleman. Dickens also implies that the destruction of this type of gentlemen and their effects might be sensed rather deeply in the society if they were selfish, dishonorable, dishonest politicians and wealthy people who work together. Dickens is one of the rare writers who highlight this collision, corruption, nepotism or economical and social destruction organized by them. Thus, he did not have enough time to see how these “honorable” gentlemen – mainly politicians and the rich – develop their gang with the gentleman in the media, bureaucracy and even in the military forces. If he had lived more, he would have seen how the wars, rows, struggles, conflicts, the anarchy and terrorism – artificially created by them – destroyed the millions of lives and how a lot of countries suffered from their systematic corruption and destruction.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v4n1s1p105

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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)

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