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Coping With Hard Times Essay

3330 words - 14 pages

During the mid-nineteenth century, under Queen Victoria's reign, England was caught in a hectic combination of progress and suffering. Even though England appeared to be progressing, with great technological developments and rising prosperity, the Victorian Era also witnessed hardships never seen before. The people during the period were forced to deal with the afflictions they face in many ways to soothe their miserable lives. Despite the common belief that England was optimistic and flourishing, many who lived in this leading nation still had to endure a staggering amount of hardship-- rich, poor, men, women, and children alike. During these hard times, people had to rely on many physical, ...view middle of the document...

Along with newly built railroads, the economy in Britain seemed better than ever. Productions of commodities made them cheap with better quality. However, with all the splendors, the Industrial Revolution also created a great amount of calamities. The factories out-competed many skilled workers and put them out of business. The people who worked in factories lost their means of production and became dependent on their employers. New groups needed to be represented and new problems needed to be solved; children had to do an incredible amount of work as well as hours of it. Even many of the rich are deprived of their happiness due to the mechanicalized environments and social relationships. In Hard Times, Charles Dickens portrays the hardships endured by both the upper and lower class during the Victorian Era. Despite it being a fictional work, Dickens uses it to express the dysfunctions of society during the time as he sees it. Therefore, it is valid to use Hard Times as an analytical material regarding the different methods the people needed to deal with distress during the Victorian Era. Out of all the coping methods, the most apparent ones are physical solutions, in which the poor engage themselves to almost daily.Among other physical mollifiers that people depend on during the Victorian Era, alcohol and sex were most common, especially amongst the poor. Since they cannot substantially alleviate their pains and sufferings, they indulge themselves in pleasures to numb or postpone them. In "The Condition of the Working Class in England", Engels asserts that, the workers are deprived of "all enjoyments except sexual indulgence and drunkenness...and are thus constantly spurred on to the maddest excess in the only two enjoyments at their command. " It clearly shows that, with too little money to improve quality of living, people will rather choose to drink and find prostitutes instead. Even those who do have some money to live better work so hard daily that they have no energy to spend their money in any well-thought out ways other than in the straightforward alcohol, since it has the fastest effect of pleasure. Engels supports this claim by stating, "The working man comes from his work tired, exhausted... he has urgent need of recreation, he must have something make work worth his trouble, to make the prospect of the next day endurable, " and the remedy at hand is sex and alcohol. Mayhew also agrees to this claim by stating that, when a women comes to take the husband's wages to buy food, "she finds a large portion of them gone in drink, " supporting the urgency the male workers have for alcohol after work.In addition to alcohol and sex, many of the lower class people are so deprived of hope that they deprave themselves into the false hope of gambling. In "London Labor and the London Poor", Mayhew describes that he saw four or five little boys gambling in the corner. Mayhew gave one of the boys a penny for his service and saw that the boy "most...

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