International Journal of Humanities and Applied Social Science

ISSN: 2471-7576 (Online)

The Politics of Cultural Carnivalism in Charles Dickens's Hard Times

Author(s): Dr. Mahmoud Salami


Abstract:
Charles Dickens's novel Hard Times seems to embody the link of cultural theory with the carnival and with the Marxist argument of how societies, classes and cultures are all colonized, decolonized, centered and de-centered, subverted and liberated for the same cultural, materialist, racial, historical and ideological reasons. Hard Times seems to be saying that we exist and live in social groups and hence our behaviour is related to our society and culture. This article reveals how Dickens succeeds in inverting in a carnivalesque manner most of the Victorian cultural values of the rich cotton lords of Coketown, those of facts and calculations, in favour of the working-class circus riders. Dickens succeeds in such ideological representation of culture as a prison-house which is policed by social and educational hegemonic forces or conscious or unconscious apparatuses. Dickens shows that such forces tried to segregate men and women, wives from husbands, fathers from sons, daughters from mothers, workers from their machines and homes, facts from fancy, and how they are all governed by such materialist culture. Hard Times embodies the carnival with all its sentimentality and dynamism by enacting the idea of culture as a whole way of life.