Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2015

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

First Advisor

Lorentzen, Eric

Second Advisor

Richards, Gary

Major or Concentration



This comprehensive analysis of Charles Dickens' social theory looks at Dickens' views on class issues in the paper "Our Great Expectations of the Upper Class" and Dickens' controversial approach to the growing issue of industrialism in the annotated bibliography "A Hard Time for Dickens: Analyzing Dickens' Portrayal of Industrialism in Hard Times." In Dickens' popular 1860 bildungsroman, Great Expectations, Dickens looks at the flawed way that society defines a gentleman, in order to caution against the dangerous societal constructions on class roles. This paper analyzes how Dickens makes these warnings and connects his teachings to issues and prejudices related to class that still exist in our own 21st century lives. In addition to comments on class, Dickens was known for being a champion for a wide variety of social issues during the Victorian era including gender issues, education and child labor. Despite Dickens' reputation, many scholars feel he undoubtedly "fell short" in his stance on industrialism, which was a very important issue in Victorian London as the effects of the Industrial Revolution quickly permeated society. This annotated bibliography reviews and scrutinizes the scholarly conversation surrounding Dickens' approach to industrialism in his 1854 novel Hard Times.