Not only does the working class, known as the "Hands," have a "hard time" in this novel; so do the other classes as well. Dickens divided the novel into three separate books, two of which, "Sowing" and "Reaping," exemplify the biblical concept of "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" Galatians 6: The third book, entitled "Garnering," Dickens paraphrased from the book of Ruth, in which Ruth garnered grain in the fields of Boaz.
Table of Contents Plot Overview Thomas Gradgrind, a wealthy, retired merchant in the industrial city of Coketown, England, devotes his life to a philosophy of rationalism, self-interest, and fact. He raises his oldest Hard times and charles dickens, Louisa and Tom, according to this philosophy and never allows them to engage in fanciful or imaginative pursuits.
He founds a school and charitably takes in one of the students, the kindly and imaginative Sissy Jupe, after the disappearance of her father, a circus entertainer. As the Gradgrind children grow older, Tom becomes a dissipated, self-interested hedonist, and Louisa struggles with deep inner confusion, feeling as though she is missing something important in her life.
Bounderby continually trumpets his role as a self-made man who was abandoned in the gutter by his mother as an infant. Tom is apprenticed at the Bounderby bank, and Sissy remains at the Gradgrind home to care for the younger children. He is unable to marry her because he is already married to a horrible, drunken woman who disappears for months and even years at a time.
Stephen visits Bounderby to ask about a divorce but learns that only the wealthy can obtain them. Pegler, a strange old woman with an inexplicable devotion to Bounderby. James Harthouse, a wealthy young sophisticate from London, arrives in Coketown to begin a political career as a disciple of Gradgrind, who is now a Member of Parliament.
He immediately takes an interest in Louisa and decides to try to seduce her. With the unspoken aid of Mrs. Sparsit, a former aristocrat who has fallen on hard times and now works for Bounderby, he sets about trying to corrupt Louisa. The Hands, exhorted by a crooked union spokesman named Slackbridge, try to form a union.
Only Stephen refuses to join because he feels that a union strike would only increase tensions between employers and employees. He is cast out by the other Hands and fired by Bounderby when he refuses to spy on them.
Tom accompanies her and tells Stephen that if he waits outside the bank for several consecutive nights, help will come to him. Stephen does so, but no help arrives. Eventually he packs up and leaves Coketown, hoping to find agricultural work in the country.
Not long after that, the bank is robbed, and the lone suspect is Stephen, the vanished Hand who was seen loitering outside the bank for several nights just before disappearing from the city.
Sparsit witnesses Harthouse declaring his love for Louisa, and Louisa agrees to meet him in Coketown later that night. She collapses to the floor, and Gradgrind, struck dumb with self-reproach, begins to realize the imperfections in his philosophy of rational self-interest.
Sissy, who loves Louisa deeply, visits Harthouse and convinces him to leave Coketown forever. Bounderby, furious that his wife has left him, redoubles his efforts to capture Stephen.Hard Times is a timely novel considering it was written in the nineteenth century. It deals with class warfare.
The main characters are chewed up and spewed out of Coketown/5(). Hard times, ,Charles Dickens Hard Times – For These Times (commonly known as Hard Times) is the tenth novel by Charles Dickens, first published in The book surveys English society and satirises the social and economic conditions of the era/5.
From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes Hard Times Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.
In Hard Times, Thomas Gradgrind raises his kids Tom and Louisa to learn facts and only facts.
Consequently, Louisa marries a man she doesn't love, and Tom robs the bank he works at. The entire. Hard Times by Charles Dickens was very good and engaging at all times. This was Dickens answer to Adam Smith. He posits that compassion and understanding are as important for a good life as acting in one's own self barnweddingvt.coms: Hard Times was Dickens’s tenth novel.
It first appeared in Dickens’s Weekly periodical, Household Words. It was published in installments that began in April of and ran through August of that year.