This quotation is a description of the worst part of Coketown in Hard Times. Coketown was a fictional place, based on the industrial mill towns of northern England at the time. The character Stephen Blackpool lives in this impoverished, dirty area.
In the hardest working part of Coketown; in the innermost fortifications of that ugly citadel, where Nature was as strongly bricked out as killing airs and gases were bricked in; at the heart of the labyrinth of narrow courts upon courts, and close streets upon streets, which had come into existence piecemeal, every piece in a violent hurry for some one man’s purpose, and the whole an unnatural family, shouldering, and trampling, and pressing one another to death; in the last close nook of this great exhausted receiver, where the chimneys, for want of air to make a draught, were built in an immense variety of stunted and crooked shapes, as though every house put out a sign of the kind of people who might be expected to be born in it; among the multitude of Coketown, generically called ‘the Hands,’—a race who would have found more favour with some people, if Providence had seen fit to make them only hands, or, like the lower creatures of the seashore, only hands and stomachs—lived a certain Stephen Blackpool, forty years of age.
Have Your Say.
Give your view on “The innermost fortifications of that ugly citadel, where Nature was as strongly bricked out as killing airs and gases were bricked in.” with a rating and help us compile the very best Charles Dickens quotations.
If you like this, we think you might also be interested in these related quotations: