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Hard Times—For These Times

(1854)
Author: Charles Dickens
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Pages: 321
Personal Rating: 0/10
Amazon: 4/5
Goodreads: 3.5/5
Bindings:Paper Back
Classifications:Drama
Synopsis:
The novel is set in Coketown, a northern industrial city. Thomas Gradgrind rules his family and his school according to Utilitarianism, the philosophy of the time, which has as its aim the greatest possible happiness for the greatest possible number of people. However, the form of Utilitarianism which Dickens attacks in the novel is plain materialism that denies all other values than material ones, or “Facts” as they are called.

Thomas Gradgrind has two children Louisa and Tom. They are caught by their father when they try to see Sleary’s Circus, where the clown Jupe works. Jupe has a daughter Sissy, and when Jupe leaves the circus and his daughter, Gradgrind invites her to come and live with his family.
<br>Josiah Bounderby is the rich owner of the Coketown factories. He is a proud self-made man; but once and again his house is observed by a strange old woman. Stephen Blackpool is one of Bounderby’s workers. Blackpool has a troubled life. He has an alcoholic wife, who has left him, but he cannot be divorced from her. He is in love with Rachel, a factory girl. When a strike breaks out and Blackpool is not willing to join the trade union his mates will not have anything to do with him. He is fired, and he has to leave town.