Customer Reviews for

Hard Times (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Average Rating 3.5
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Great

Hard Times is probably Dickens' most underrated novel. It is a good protest against conditions and attitudes during the Victorian period however its main focus is not on the working class, although it seems to be with the first chapters. It is a book everyone interested...
Hard Times is probably Dickens' most underrated novel. It is a good protest against conditions and attitudes during the Victorian period however its main focus is not on the working class, although it seems to be with the first chapters. It is a book everyone interested in Victorian literature - and British literature in general - should read. It has an unbelievable writing style.

posted by Berto on January 27, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Dull

I felt it would be unfair to give this book only one star, since it is a classic. But, considering how painful it was to get through with the endless narration, incomprehensible accents of certain people, and run-on sentences, I've decided to shy away from the opinions ...
I felt it would be unfair to give this book only one star, since it is a classic. But, considering how painful it was to get through with the endless narration, incomprehensible accents of certain people, and run-on sentences, I've decided to shy away from the opinions of literary scholars and voice my own opinion. And the fact that it was terribly boring leaves me with no guilt in giving Hard Times a poor rating.

posted by 1804793 on January 8, 2011

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  • Posted January 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great

    Hard Times is probably Dickens' most underrated novel. It is a good protest against conditions and attitudes during the Victorian period however its main focus is not on the working class, although it seems to be with the first chapters. It is a book everyone interested in Victorian literature - and British literature in general - should read. It has an unbelievable writing style.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008

    Brilliant

    Absolutely Wonderful! This book is so fascinating and remarkable! I thought it extremely educational and interesting at the same time. I would read it again and I am not one to read books more than once! Bravo Dickens!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2002

    Thank you for spoiling everything!

    Thank you to the nimrod who, in a very self-aggrandizing sort of way, just gave away the entire PLOT to Hard Times. First of all, I've already read the book so your forsoothly monologue didn't tell me anything I didn't already know (and I have written a few papers on the book) and second of all, who's actually going to want to go out and buy the book now? THINK next time before you post! Okay? If people want the Cliffs Notes version, they can purchase it at Barnes & Noble!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This truly one of dickens most overlooked works. It is classic i

    This truly one of dickens most overlooked works. It is classic in its depiction of the effects, good and bad, of industrialization on the people of Victorian England. From a teacher's perspective, this book could be used in just about any course as a across curriculum reading. A good read; classic Dickens!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2011

    Dull

    I felt it would be unfair to give this book only one star, since it is a classic. But, considering how painful it was to get through with the endless narration, incomprehensible accents of certain people, and run-on sentences, I've decided to shy away from the opinions of literary scholars and voice my own opinion. And the fact that it was terribly boring leaves me with no guilt in giving Hard Times a poor rating.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2010

    Great Dickens

    I love all of Dickens's novels, and while this falls a bit short when compared to Great Expectations or David Copperfield, it is well worth reading. Character development leaves a bit to be desired in that, in order to explore his ideas about human development and politics, some of his characters are a bit caricaturish. Nonetheless, this is a great book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    This is a great book. I am a big fan of Charles Dickens, and I would recommend any of his books.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Boring.

    Nothing much happened, just a lot of talking.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Wolvine

    I was aware about the grey ting, but dont kniw what he said will you tell me?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    Loathe

    Hisses slowly getting up. He glared hatefully. Take them and go. Dissipears.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Svarton

    *squawks,then drops a stink bomb on megatron. xD*

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2012

    Sonicfeet

    *pokes arcee*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Nightbird rper

    This is so wierd...i post more than one post! XD

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  • Posted May 23, 2012

    Hey. It's Dickens. Of course it's good.

    Not Dickens' best. Lots of loose ends, especially in modern editions. Also not quite the harangue on England's unjust social conditions it's often said to be. Nonetheless, Dickens is a great story teller and this fits that mold. Plus it's short by his standards.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Review

    Charles Dickens presents one of his more simplistic novels here but it is a worthwhile read about society commentary and satire nonetheless.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    Interesting

    This book is about a man who, in an effort to save his children and others from the mistake of being guided (misguided) by emotion, taste and other intangibles, has a school to educate people to focus on the tangible- the factual- and to be guided by reason.

    There are several story lines, and many compelling characters. I believe, the premise of the book is that one can make errors in judgement as well and easily by applying to reason as to emotion.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2008

    A novel worthy of our utmost approbation.

    When she was half-a-dozen years younger, Louisa had been overheard to begin a conversation with her brother one day, by saying, ¿Tom, I wonder¿¿upon which Mr. Gradgrind, who was the person overhearing, stepped forth into the light, and said, ¿Louisa, never wonder!¿ 'pg. 52' It is known, to the force of a single pound weight, what the engine will do. But, not all the calculators of the National Debt can tell me the capacity for good or evil, for love or hatred, for patriotism or discontent, for the decomposition of virtue into vice, or the reverse, at any single moment in the soul of one of these its quiet servants, with the composed faces and the regulated actions. There is no mystery in it. There is an unfathomable mystery in the meanest of them, forever¿ supposing we were to reserve our arithmetic for material objects, and to govern these awful unknown quantities by other means! 'pg. 71' The above excerpts perfectly exemplify the two most prominent themes in Hard Times: the importance of imagination and compassion. In the very first page, we are introduced to Mr. Gradgrind¿s morbid philosophy, which seeks to teach children nothing but facts, to live one¿s life based on reason and exact calculations, and to abstain from anything that approaches Fancy. Mr. Gradgrind¿s name implies his theory, for he veritably grinds the imagination out of his children, turning them into morose machine-like vessels full of facts. It seems Gradgrind can put anything into a tabular statement or answer any question, whether it would be wiser to answer with one¿s heart or not, mathematically. Consequently, his children are taught to do the same. Neither knowing how to navigate life with their heart, they both fall into terrible situations. They cannot feel. They are deadened, lifeless textbooks. However, Louisa¿s soul is under much more constraint than is Tom¿s. She often daydreams and is aware of what her father¿s philosophy destroyed in her infancy. She is compassionate despite her upbringing and cares much for her brother. But the attention and consideration she gives her brother is unrequited. The Gradgrind household is regulated by facts. Coketown is regulated by facts. The workers, called ¿Hands¿, are as apathetic and gloomy as the incessant trails of smoke that emanate from the factory chimneys. Their imaginations have also been stifled. The Coketown magnates are only concerned with monetary gains, and so measure all things with their avarice. The Hands are nearly indistinguishable from the machinery. They are machinery! Each passage pertaining to Coketown adequately and beautifully illustrates how suffocating this industrialized town is, where the inhabitants are only to work and who have no creative outlet or moment of respite. Hard Times states that we cannot govern people with numbers alone. They cannot be regulated by Gradgrind¿s facts, nor are the lower class lazy, ungrateful scum as the self-made man Bounderby would have us believe. People need imaginative stimuli to escape the dreary, monotonous reality of everyday life and their ¿owners¿ need be as concerned about their workers¿ well-being as they are their profits. Yes, Dickens¿ plotting is exact and his characters are exaggerated, but that¿s what I love about his novels. Yes, the villains receive their comeuppance in the end and the heroes and heroines shine as brightly as halos, but this is also something I love about Dickens. I would also like to bring attention to another aspect of Hard Times, and all other Dickens novels, and that is the language. I love the language in this book. It took me twice as long to read this book as it should have and that¿s because I couldn¿t persuade myself to move on from certain passages. I actually read every chapter twice and some paragraphs I cannot count the number of times I read. I loved this book. If you have the faintest interest in classical literature, you¿ll love this book. I could do nothing after reading this book but sig

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    Good read

    The back of the book says that Thomas Gradgrind is one of Dicken's most vivid characters. I'd have to disagree and wouldn't even call him the most vivid character of the book. It was a little slow at times but picks up at the end.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2006

    HARD TIMES

    Hard Times by Charles Dickens is a timeless novel, that¿s every message rings true to today. Dickens portrays through the characters in the Gradgrind family the importance of being free to create one¿s own person through imagination. At the commencement of the novel Dickens illustrates a cold, strict, sparse classroom as Mr. Gradgrind explains the importance of only Facts in ones life. This serious and anxious tone is carried throughout the novel, as the Gradgrinds mature and the way of life in Coketown is questioned. Then, the character of Bounderby is introduced as a very narcissistic man who has ¿risen¿ form the depths of society to become very successful and a family friend of the Gradgrinds, who has set his eye on the eldest daughter Louisa. However, due to her father¿s incessant pressure she tries to rebel, as anyone would, but isn¿t successful and marries Bounderby. Meanwhile, a student at the school where Gradgrind teaches his ¿philosophy¿ is abandoned by her circus performing father, who wants her to have a good education and life. She, Sissy Jupe, is then taken under the wing of Gradgrind and becomes part of the family, who later proves to be the change they need to fix their broken family. As the story unfolds these main characters encounter many conflicts as the result of this flawed ¿Facts only¿ philosophy. Through logic the reader can deduce that the message pertains to the nurturing of ones imagination. This is the reason why students read Hard Times in school, students can relate to the feeling of being stifled by facts, yet it¿s imperative for them to know that the final product of being content with ones-self is the most important.

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