Hard Times: The Binary of Mind versus Heart.
Charles Dickens novel Hard Times, introduces us to the monotonous city of Coketown, England during the rise of Industrialization in the nineteenth century. Undoubtedly, the effects of industrialization were felt throughout the city. The growth of automation caused a peculiar obsession with facts instilling greed in the wealthy, and compassion in the poor, giving birth to the binary of mind versus heart in Dickens satire.
Eventually, Industrialization caused the development of a social caste system. Who many, fell victim to. We know the Victorian Era to be the death of God for many, and the birth of extreme Utilitarianism. We see this philosophy in Dickens characters, Thomas Gradgrind and Josiah Bounderby. Utilitarian thinkers of the mind philosophy lived their lives based on facts, detaching themselves completely from all human compassion, thus, making them seemingly selfish. At this time, it was largely believed that following this philosophy should give citizens happy and productive lives. .
Of course, measuring something as complex as human life with logic created problems throughout the community and in the hearts of many. Those who chose to led a life untouched by rules (Sleary,) or those who gave into their wonder of imagination (Louisa,) was Dickens way of introducing the existence and importance of both good and evil in human nature. It is no doubt that the loss of God (no longer having a higher being to answer to) and the growth of technology continued to play a negative role in the community. Detachment grew and humanity began to disappear dividing characters into two philosophies- heart and mind. .
The strict Utilitarian beliefs of Thomas Gradgrind categorize him to be a character of the "mind" philosophy. Gradgrind, as the narrator suggests, is "A man of realities- A man of facts and calculations" (6). As a wealthy and retired merchant of Coketown, he devotes his life to the philosophy of rationalism, believing it to be the only way to lead a flourishing life.