Hard Times

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Hard Times

by Charles Dickens

Alan Rodgers Books | July 7, 2006 | Hardcover

Hard Times is rated 4 out of 5 by 2.
"Hard Times" is regarded as one of Dickens'' darker novels. It introduces the character of Thomas Gradgrind. Like many of Dickens'' characters, Gradgrind''s name tells the reader much of what they need to know. As schoolmaster Gradgrind says, "Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!" Gradgrind''s factual upbringing dooms his children, Tom and Louisa, in different ways. The book is set in "Coketown," an industrial city. Because of its treatment of the role of factory work, as well as education, in society, "Hard Times" was thought to be a "socialist" work at the time of its publication. It was also written during a time when Dickens was experiencing trouble in his own marriage, and it features a number of unhappy couples and much family discord. Less popular at its publication than many of other Dickens'' works, "Hard Times" remains one of the most-taught of Dickens'' major books, possibly because of the group, it is the shortest.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 248 pages, 3.54 × 2.36 × 0.27 in

Published: July 7, 2006

Publisher: Alan Rodgers Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1598180797

ISBN - 13: 9781598180794

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from More of the same There is a character that appears in all of Charles Dickens' books whom I can't stand. He is the noble worker, the lower class moral compass, and he is consistently a source of Dickens' naive idealism, which, for a jaded soul like me, is a constant impediment to full enjoyment of Dickens' excellent prose. Bob Cratchett, Scrooge's clerk in A Christmas Carol, is the most insufferable of his kind, Joe Gargery, Pip's Uncle in Great Expectations, is the most sufferable of his kind, and Stephen Blackpool, Mr. Bounderby's weaver in Hard Times, falls somewhere in between. Blackpool is morally perfect throughout Hard Times, the man we are to gauge ourselves and everyone in the book against. Blackpool actually believes in justice to such an extent -- despite evidence in his own life to the contrary -- that he would put himself in danger of imprisonment "to clear his name." Further, he believes in the "goodness" of social conventions so completely that he withholds any chance of full happiness with Rachael so that he won't become a "bad" man. I am not sure what I find more annoying, the fact that Dickens believes that people like this exist in such seeming numbers, or the belief that they are somehow people we should aspire to be like? I will concede that people like this do exist, but these people are, I reiterate, insufferable, and they are generally people who are incapable of truly thinking for themselves. And all of this reveals Dickens as that most painful, wishy washy, and dangerous of people -- the bleeding heart liberal. The kind of person who believes, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that if we all just talk about things and complain peaceably the world will change for the better. I proudly declare myself for the left of the political scale, but I'll be damned if I will get my permit to protest and go home with a happy glow in my heart that I've done the "right" thing, when I know full well that I changed absolutely nothing. For a guy like me Dickens is a tough read. Still, Hard Times was one of Dickens' better ones, and at the very least I recognize and admire the strength of Dickens' prose. He is, politics aside, a beautiful writer.
Date published: 2008-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hard Times This novel, unique to Dickens in that it is the only one set in a ficticious town, take a fascinating look at what mechanical, unimaginative and unemotional approaches to life and family may lead. Outlining a somewhat distorted "objectivistic" attitude in his hard-nosed characters, Dickens compliments them beautifully with fun-loving, carefree characters, such as Cissy and Rachael. This novel has an underlying moral buried beneath, should you choose to find it, and leaves the reader feeling a little bit better about themselves.
Date published: 2000-10-05

– More About This Product –

Hard Times

by Charles Dickens

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 248 pages, 3.54 × 2.36 × 0.27 in

Published: July 7, 2006

Publisher: Alan Rodgers Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1598180797

ISBN - 13: 9781598180794

From the Publisher

"Hard Times" is regarded as one of Dickens'' darker novels. It introduces the character of Thomas Gradgrind. Like many of Dickens'' characters, Gradgrind''s name tells the reader much of what they need to know. As schoolmaster Gradgrind says, "Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!" Gradgrind''s factual upbringing dooms his children, Tom and Louisa, in different ways. The book is set in "Coketown," an industrial city. Because of its treatment of the role of factory work, as well as education, in society, "Hard Times" was thought to be a "socialist" work at the time of its publication. It was also written during a time when Dickens was experiencing trouble in his own marriage, and it features a number of unhappy couples and much family discord. Less popular at its publication than many of other Dickens'' works, "Hard Times" remains one of the most-taught of Dickens'' major books, possibly because of the group, it is the shortest.
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