Research Article

A Reading of Charles Dickens' Hard Times (1854) As a Crime Novel


  • Lina Alzouabi MA in English Literature, Department of English Language and Literature, Al-Zaytoonah University, Amman, Jordan


This study explores how Charles Dickens presents a panoramic picture of social and moral crimes, criminals, victims and the causes as well as consequences of criminality in his novel Hard Times (1854). By employing Collins' Dickens and Crime (1964), the article provides a reading of Dickens' Hard Times as a crime novel, arguing that this novel is not only a social commentary on England in the Victorian era for the purpose of achieving social reform at the time. It is also a crime novel, portraying different types of crimes with various motives and criminals from different backgrounds and classes. Gradgrind, a follower of the utilitarian philosophy, manipulates his daughter Louisa into marrying the capitalist Bounderby for social and economic benefit, which, as a result, gets her to be exploited by Harthouse. In addition, Gradgrind's philosophy has affected his son Tom who has turned into an idle and selfish person, stealing the bank and indicting Stephen and indirectly causing the latter's death. Stephen is also a victim of the capitalist society and the Divorce Law, as only the rich have been entitled to divorce. By investigating Dickens' Hard Times as a crime novel, the study attempts to provide new insights into reading Dickens' novels at the present time, arguing that they can be reread as crime novels that intriguingly portray crimes, criminals, motives and the dire consequences of crime.  

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

4 (4)





How to Cite

Alzouabi, L. (2021). A Reading of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times (1854) As a Crime Novel. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 4(4), 193–199.



Charles Dickens, Hard Times, Victorian Era, Crime, Crime Novel