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Dickens was much influenced by the period of hardship in his life due to industrial, political, educational and economic factors. Almost all of his novels are assaults on the corruption of his society especially the negative impacts of the Industrial Revolution.
The results of the Industrial Revolution on the Victorian England had negative impacts on Dickens and his works. He reflected that when he attacked it in his novels by revealing its true nature, effects on humanity and its result, "the divorce of labour from the land and the rise of proletarianised wage labour" (Hudson, 1992: 4) because it was "a shift from agrarian and rural based occupations to predominantly urban-based industrial and service employments. . ." Which resulted in "radical shifts in social relations" (Ibid.).
Capitalism was one of the main results of the Industrial Revolution. Capitalism was a social system called for not only the recognition of individual rights but also property rights. ("Capitalism.": p. 2 of 3). Dickens referred to that phenomenon in his novels, particularly in Great Expectation and Hard Times. Pip's desire, in Great Expectation, to be wealthy and gentle leads to his down fall which is the result of any capitalist according to Dickens. Dickens' attitude towards Capitalism is also illustrated through the character of Bounderby in Hard Times. Dickens' description of Bounderby as a powerful capitalist and industrialist who has no respect to or pity for his employees influence the reader to disgust him which is evidence that Dickens disgusted Capitalism and Industrial Revolution himself.
Not only Dickens, but also Karl Marx criticized Capitalism because of its oppression of the poor. His theory, "Marxism", based on equality among all classes and it was sympathized with the working class. Then it promoted Socialism to be a political and economic system. (Sowell, 1985: 281). Under the influence of Marxism and Socialism, Dickens' works deal with the relationships between the middle class and the lower class.
Though the intellectual and scientific developments were the results of the Industrial Revolution- those were its positive impacts- the Industrial Revolution led to the increase of migration of people from the countryside to cities. That matter led to the prosperity of the middle class at the expense of the lower class labourers. Dickens as a revolutionist criticized the "rapidity of change and the terrible effects of industrial transformation upon the living standards of the masses" (Hudson, 1992: 12) and stated that clearly in his novels, particularly Bleak House and Hard Times.
Unfortunately, during the Industrial Revolution, the educational systems for children were limited. Children were preferred to work more than adults because they were paid far less than the adults. That case led to their deprivation of education. (Landes, 2003: 57). That matter abused Dickens and evoked him to portray the terrible conditions in which the children worked in his novels.
The status of women in the Victorian period was also of interest according to Dickens. It was the anonymity of the city that made the increase in prostitutions and sexual relationships. So, "Dickens and other writers of his time associated prostitution with the mechanization of modern life, portraying prostitutes as human commodities consumed and then thrown away like refuse" (Altick, 1974: 25). Therefore, Dickens is one of the writers who presented prostitutes as victims in his novels, particularly Oliver Twist.
All the previous factors in the Victorian period obliged the writers to do something for social change including Charles Dickens whose novels "are both a symptom and a critique of the disciplinary society; they are the site of the first appearance in English fiction of a massive thematization of social discipline" (Pykett, 2002: 18). Thus, Dickens used satire to attack the morality of the middle class. He succeeded in that because of his artistic style, particularly characterization. In Hard Times, Dickens skillfully identified the workers or the hands as he called them in the novel with the machines. This mode of writing, he is famous for which is fit to the nineteenth century. He knew where and how to place his characters in the right place and manner. Moreover, he always portrayed the protagonist as a virtuous person in his novels, particularly in Oliver Twist in which the hero, Oliver Twist, remains virtuous from the beginning of the novel to the end despite the corruption of his society.
Another significant element of Dickens' artistic style is his use of conventional idioms that get the attraction of his audience, particularly Magwitch and Joe in Great Expectation, Slearly and Stephen in Hard Times, Fagin and his crew in Oliver Twist and Jo and the members of Tom- All- Alones in Bleak House. This declares that Dickens' language is "performative and operative: language does not merely represent the world, but it does work in the world" (Ibid.). This stems from the notion that he depicts in his novels the life that he experienced himself. So, his novels are his weapons through which he heartily tries to change his society towards the better.