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Charles Dickens

Hard Times

Hard Times is Charles Dickens’s tenth novel that has been considered most seriously by literary critics and historians. It concentrates on the portrayal of the English society of the nineteenth century as well as on its different cultural and economic aspects. The story, which is set in a fictional Victorian town, is divided into three parts which are respectively entitled “Sowing,” “Reaping,” and “Garnering.” The central character of the first part is Mr. Thomas Gradgrind, a wealthy man, a school headmaster and a father to 5 children. Generally, Mr. Gradgrind is a man of reason and thought, but also of strict rules and codes of behavior. The narrative gives minute details of his daily activities and habits as well as of the way he brings up his children, teaching them principles of rationalism and self-interest. The story then follows the existence of his children and family in the remaining parts of the novel. Dickens mainly deals with the much-debated social issues of the time such as the importance of professional careers, love and marriage. By the end of the narrative, Mr. Gradgrind eventually seems to become less categorical as to his strict principles of rationalism and utilitarianism.
359 printed pages

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