Hard Times

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Overview

The 'terrible mistake' was the contemporary utilitarian philosophy, expounded in Hard Times (1854) as the Philosophy of Fact by the hard-headed disciplinarian Thomas Gradgrind. But the novel, Dickens's shortest, is more than a polemical tract for the times; the tragic story of Louisa Gradgrind and her father is one of Dickens's triumphs. When Louisa, trapped in a loveless marriage, falls prey to an idle seducer, the crisis forces her father to reconsider his cherished system. Yet even as the development of the ...
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Overview

The 'terrible mistake' was the contemporary utilitarian philosophy, expounded in Hard Times (1854) as the Philosophy of Fact by the hard-headed disciplinarian Thomas Gradgrind. But the novel, Dickens's shortest, is more than a polemical tract for the times; the tragic story of Louisa Gradgrind and her father is one of Dickens's triumphs. When Louisa, trapped in a loveless marriage, falls prey to an idle seducer, the crisis forces her father to reconsider his cherished system. Yet even as the development of the story reflects Dickens's growing pessimism about human nature and society, Hard Times marks his return to the theme which had made his early works so popular: the amusements of the people. Sleary's circus represents Dickens's most considered defence of the necessity of entertainment, and infuses the novel with the good humour which has ensured its appeal to generations of readers.

Hard Times--Dickens's shortest novel and one of his major triumphs--tells the tragic story of Louisa Gradgrind and her father.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7-12-Dickens' satire on the Victorian family and the philosophies of a society which sought to turn men into machines. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Charles Dickens offers Simon Prebble every opportunity to show off his talent." —-AudioFile
Barry V. Qualls Rutgers University
"Graham Law's edition of Hard Times is the most useful edition for teaching Dickens that I have seen. Its text is authoritative, and the range of contextual documents included gives readers an opportunity to situate the work in the discussions of industrialization and labor as they took place in nineteenth-century England."
Kate Flint University of Oxford
"This beautifully produced edition combines a freshly written, informative introduction with helpful and well-judged notes. Particularly welcome is the wealth of documentary material and examples carefully chosen from other contemporary fiction, enabling readers to place Hard Times within its full Victorian context. This is an excellent edition—clear, authoritative and stimulating."
Library Journal - Audio
Hard Times is Dickens's most political novel. Taking place in the industrial burg of Coketown, the drama among the characters illustrates the author's view of the dehumanizing effects of industrialization and utilitarianism on the lives of all involved and is essentially a "moral fable" illustrating the principle that one reaps what one sows. VERDICT Anton Lesser, a classical actor and an award-winning audiobook reader, gives a spirited reading, bringing out the character of each persona—the dictatorial Gradgrind, the pompous Bounderby, and the meek Sissy—with skill and verve. An entertaining and captivating listening experience; all libraries should consider. [See the Dickens roundup, p. 68.—Ed.]—Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll. Lib., Lynchburg
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792743293
  • Publisher: AudioGO
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Format: CD

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812, the son of a clerk and the second of eight children. He taught himself shorthand and became a reporter of parliamentary debates before starting to publish sketches in various periodicals, which were later collected together as Sketches by Boz. His future career as a novelist was assured with the appearance of Pickwick Papers in 1836. He is perhaps the best-known English author of all time and was lauded by his American readers during his tours of the United States. He died in 1870.

Biography

Born on February 7, 1812, Charles Dickens was the second of eight children in a family burdened with financial troubles. Despite difficult early years, he became the most successful British writer of the Victorian age.

In 1824, young Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work at a boot-blacking factory when his improvident father, accompanied by his mother and siblings, was sentenced to three months in a debtor's prison. Once they were released, Charles attended a private school for three years. The young man then became a solicitor's clerk, mastered shorthand, and before long was employed as a Parliamentary reporter. When he was in his early twenties, Dickens began to publish stories and sketches of London life in a variety of periodicals.

It was the publication of Pickwick Papers (1836-1837) that catapulted the twenty-five-year-old author to national renown. Dickens wrote with unequaled speed and often worked on several novels at a time, publishing them first in monthly installments and then as books. His early novels Oliver Twist (1837-1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841), and A Christmas Carol (1843) solidified his enormous, ongoing popularity. As Dickens matured, his social criticism became increasingly biting, his humor dark, and his view of poverty darker still. David Copperfield (1849-1850), Bleak House (1852-1853), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865) are the great works of his masterful and prolific period.

In 1858 Dickens's twenty-three-year marriage to Catherine Hogarth dissolved when he fell in love with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. The last years of his life were filled with intense activity: writing, managing amateur theatricals, and undertaking several reading tours that reinforced the public's favorable view of his work but took an enormous toll on his health. Working feverishly to the last, Dickens collapsed and died on June 8, 1870, leaving The Mystery of Edwin Drood uncompleted.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of David Copperfield.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles John Huffam Dickens (full name) "Boz" (pen name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1812
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portsmouth, England
    1. Date of Death:
      June 18, 1870
    2. Place of Death:
      Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER I
The One Thing Needful

“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!”

The scene was a plain, bare, monotonous vault of a schoolroom, and the speaker’s square forefinger emphasized his observations by underscoring every sentence with a line on the schoolmaster’s sleeve. The emphasis was helped by the speaker’s square wall of a forehead, which had his eyebrows for its base, while his eyes found commodious cellerage in two dark caves, overshadowed by the wall. The emphasis was helped by the speaker’s mouth, which was wide, thin, and hard set. The emphasis was helped by the speaker’s voice, which was inflexible, dry, and dictatorial. The emphasis was helped by the speaker’s hair, which bristled on the skirts of his bald head, a plantation of firs to keep the wind from its shining surface, all covered with knobs, like the crust of a plum pie, as if the head had scarcely warehouse-room for the hard facts stored inside. The speaker’s obstinate carriage, square coat, square legs, square shoulders,—nay, his very neckcloth, trained to take him by the throat with an unaccommodating grasp, like a stubborn fact, as it was,—all helped the emphasis.

“In this life, we want nothing but Facts, Sir; nothing but Facts!”

The speaker,and the schoolmaster, and the third grown person present, all backed a little, and swept with their eyes the inclined plane of little vessels then and there arranged in order, ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim.

CHAPTER II
Murdering the Innocents

Thomas Gradgrind, Sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, Sir—peremptorily Thomas—Thomas Gradgrind. With a rule and a pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, Sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple arithmetic. You might hope to get some other nonsensical belief into the head of George Gradgrind, or Augustus Gradgrind, or John Gradgrind, or Joseph Gradgrind (all supposititious, non-existent persons), but into the head of Thomas Gradgrind—no, Sir!

In such terms Mr. Gradgrind always mentally introduced himself, whether to his private circle of acquaintance, or to the public in general. In such terms, no doubt, substituting the words “boys and girls,” for “Sir,” Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts.

Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of childhood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away.

“Girl number twenty,” said Mr. Gradgrind, squarely pointing with his square forefinger, “I don’t know that girl. Who is that girl?”

“Sissy Jupe, sir,” explained number twenty, blushing, standing up, and curtseying.

“Sissy is not a name,” said Mr. Gradgrind. “Don’t call yourself Sissy. Call yourself Cecilia.”

“It’s father as calls me Sissy, sir,” returned the young girl in a trembling voice, and with another curtsey.

“Then he has no business to do it,” said Mr. Gradgrind. “Tell him he mustn’t. Cecilia Jupe. Let me see. What is your father?”

“He belongs to the horse-riding, if you please, sir.”

Mr. Gradgrind frowned, and waved off the objectionable calling with his hand.

“We don’t want to know anything about that, here. You mustn’t tell us about that, here. Your father breaks horses, don’t he?”

“If you please, sir, when they can get any to break, they do break horses in the ring, sir.”

“You mustn’t tell us about the ring, here. Very well, then. Describe your father as a horsebreaker. He doctors sick horses, I dare say?”

“Oh yes, sir.”

“Very well, then. He is a veterinary surgeon, a farrier and horsebreaker. Give me your definition of a horse.”

(Sissy Jupe thrown into the greatest alarm by this demand.)

“Girl number twenty unable to define a horse!” said Mr. Gradgrind, for the general behoof of all the little pitchers. “Girl number twenty possessed of no facts, in reference to one of the commonest of animals! Some boy’s definition of a horse. Bitzer, yours.”

The square finger, moving here and there, lighted suddenly on Bitzer, perhaps because he chanced to sit in the same ray of sunlight which, darting in at one of the bare windows of the intensely whitewashed room, irradiated Sissy. For, the boys and girls sat on the face of the inclined plane in two compact bodies, divided up the centre by a narrow interval; and Sissy, being at the corner of a row on the sunny side, came in for the beginning of a sunbeam, of which Bitzer, being at the corner of a row on the other side, a few rows in advance, caught the end. But, whereas the girl was so dark-eyed and dark-haired, that she seemed to receive a deeper and more lustrous colour from the sun, when it shone upon her, the boy was so light-eyed and light-haired that the self-same rays appeared to draw out of him what little colour he ever possessed. His cold eyes would hardly have been eyes, but for the short ends of lashes which, by bringing them into immediate contrast with something paler than themselves, expressed their form. His short-cropped hair might have been a mere continuation of the sandy freckles on his forehead and face. His skin was so unwholesomely deficient in the natural tinge, that he looked as though, if he were cut, he would bleed white.

“Bitzer,” said Thomas Gradgrind. “Your definition of a horse.”

“Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy countries, sheds hoofs, too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in mouth.” Thus (and much more) Bitzer.

“Now girl number twenty,” said Mr. Gradgrind. “You know what a horse is.”

She curtseyed again, and would have blushed deeper, if she could have blushed deeper than she had blushed all this time. Bitzer, after rapidly blinking at Thomas Gradgrind with both eyes at once, and so catching the light upon his quivering ends of lashes that they looked like the antennæ of busy insects, put his knuckles to his freckled forehead, and sat down again.

The third gentleman now stepped forth. A mighty man at cutting and drying, he was; a government officer; in his way (and in most other people’s too), a professed pugilist; always in training, always with a system to force down the general throat like a bolus, always to be heard of at the bar of his little Public-office, ready to fight all England. To continue in fistic phraseology, he had a genius for coming up to the scratch,2 wherever and whatever it was, and proving himself an ugly customer. He would go in and damage any subject whatever with his right, follow up with his left, stop, exchange, counter, bore his opponent (he always fought All England)3 to the ropes, and fall upon him neatly. He was certain to knock the wind out of common sense, and render that unlucky adversary deaf to the call of time. And he had it in charge from high authority to bring about the great public- office Millennium, when Commissioners should reign upon earth.

“Very well,” said this gentleman, briskly smiling, and folding his arms. “That’s a horse. Now, let me ask you girls and boys, Would you paper a room with representations of horses?”

After a pause, one half of the children cried in chorus, “Yes, Sir!” Upon which the other half, seeing in the gentleman’s face that Yes was wrong, cried out in chorus, “No, Sir!”—as the custom is, in these examinations.

“Of course, No. Why wouldn’t you?”

A pause. One corpulent slow boy, with a wheezy manner of breathing, ventured the answer, Because he wouldn’t paper a room at all, but would paint it.

“You must paper it,” said the gentleman, rather warmly.

“You must paper it,” said Thomas Gradgrind, “whether you like it or not. Don’t tell us you wouldn’t paper it. What do you mean, boy?”


From the Audio Cassette edition.

Copyright 2001 by Charles Dickens
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Charles Dickens: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
Hard Times: For These Times
Appendix A: The Composition of the Novel
1. Household Words Partners' Agreement
2. Announcements in Household Words
3. Dickens's Working Memoranda
4. Mentions in Dickens's Letters
Appendix B: Contemporary Reviews of the Novel
1. Athanaeum (12 August 1854)
2. Examiner (9 September 1854)
3. Gentleman's Magazine (September 1854)
4. British Quarterly Review (October 1854)
5. Rambler (October 1854)
6. South London Athanaeum and Institution Magazine (October 1854)
7. Westminster Review (October 1854)
8. Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (April 1855)
Appendix C: On Industrialization - Commentary
1a. Thomas Carlyle, "Signs of the Times," Edinburgh Review (June 1829)
1b. Thomas Carlyle, Chartism (1839)
1c. Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present (1843)
2. Andrew Ure, The Philosophy of Manufactures (1836)
3. P. Gaskell, Artisans and Machinery (1836)
4a. J.S. Mill, "Bentham," London and Westminster Reveiw (August 1838)
4b. J.S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy (1848)
5. Arthur Helps, The Claims of Labour (1844)
6. Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (1845)
7. Charles Dickens, "On Strike," Household Words (11 February 1854)
8. Henry Morley, "Ground in the Mill," Household Words (22 April 1854)
9. Harriet Martineau, The Factory Controversy: A Warning Against Meddling Legislation (1855)
10. W.B. Hodgson, "On the Importance of the Study of Economic Science as a Branch of Education for all Classes," Lectures in Education Delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (1855)
11. John Ruskin, "Unto This Last," Cornhill Magazine (August 1860)
Appendix D: On Industrialization - Fiction
1. Harriet Martineau, A Manchester Strike (Illustrations of Political Economy No. 7) (1832)
2. Frances Trollope, Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong (1840)
3. "Charlotte Elizabeth," Helen Fleetwood (1841)
4. Elizabeth Stone, William Langshawe, the Cotton Lord (1842)
5a. Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby (1844) (i)
5b. Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby (1844) (ii)
5c. Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil (1845)
6a. Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton (1848) (i)
6b. Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton (1848) (ii)
6c. Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (1855)
7. Charlotte Bronte, Shirley (1849)
8a. Charles Kingsley, Yeast (1850)
8b. Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke (1850)
9. Fanny Mayne, Jane Rutherford, or The Miners' Strike (1854)
Explanatory Notes
Select Bibliography

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Reading Group Guide

1. Did Dickens have a clear purpose in writing Hard Times? Was Hard Times primarily an exhortation to solve the problems faced by
nineteenth-century England, or was his subject matter merely a vehicle that allowed him to write a humorous story using the familiar character types of his day? Do you consider Dickens primarily to be an activist? A social critic? A humor writer?

2. Describe the relationship of Mr. and Mrs. Gradgrind. Why is Mr. Gradgrind's philosophy lost on Mrs. Gradgrind? What accounts for her total lack of understanding?

3. In the first few words of Hard Times, in the title to the first book, "Sowing, " there is a biblical allusion. Hard Times ends with another biblical allusion in the penultimate paragraph, where Dickens refers to the "Writing on the Wall." Biblical references are made throughout the novel, and Christian sentiment is appealed to constantly. How important are Christian underpinnings to Dickens's moral message? Do Dickens's criticisms and appeals go beyond the religious? If so, what other moral ideals are put forth in Hard Times, and what are their implications?

4. Coketown is, of course, a wholly fictitious city. However, it is a microcosm of England during the time of the Industrial Revolution and is modeled on cities that existed at the time. What are the problems of Coketown, and what are the causes of these problems? As a community, does Coketown accurately or inaccurately portray the ills of nineteenth-century English industrial cities? Does the creation of this fictitious town make Dickens's satire more effective than if he were to situate it in a real city? Why?

5. Since theconditions of life in English factory towns have changed, and many years have passed since the writing of Hard Times, what can be said to be the book's lasting value? Is it primarily historical, painting a picture of the way life was at one time? Is it moral or philosophical? Are the aspects of the novel that were important at the time of its publication still the ones that are valued today?

6. Are Rachael and Stephen realistic characters, even in the context of a satirical novel? What purpose do they serve to the novel as a whole, and which characters are they most starkly contrasted with? How does the scene of Stephen's death stand out in the novel? How is it important to the overarching themes Dickens is trying to convey?

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Customer Reviews

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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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

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

    Posted March 18, 2014

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Boring.

    Nothing much happened, just a lot of talking.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

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

    Posted December 17, 2012

    Sonicfeet

    *pokes arcee*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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 February 7, 2006

    shall another book ever be conceived to exceed hard times' intoxicating lulaby?

    being longwinded is what makes dickens great, but even he has outdone himself once more with this novel. throughout the novel dickens writes without much thought onto how much he is giving away, and later on tries to 'suprise' the reader by confirming those 'hints' on the characters. there are many childrens books that just say see jane run, run jane run, and ettcettra that still have a greater flow than that which may be called hard times... 'they were the best of times, for they were the worst of times' there are countless similarities when comparing this statement to the monotonous ordeal of reading hard times. the only way i have found to stay awake while reading it was to have a pitcher of tea next to me at all times. i would recomend 'the life of Dr. Bejimin Franklin as writen by himself' 'Across the nightinggale floor', and the rest of the 'tales of the otori' series they have alot more action and drop you into the action from the begining

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2004

    Ok

    I read this book in two weeks as a school assignment this year in eigth grade. It was ok, but I believe Charles Dicken's other novels captured my attention much more than this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2004

    Relative

    Dicken's Hard Times is one of the easiest books that I have ever read; I myself suffered the depression of the factories for years before becoming a writer. Although some of his characters are a little larger than life, most of the soul stealing torture in the factory is also large to the point of mystical. I do not reccomend this to anyone who has never enjoyed true defeat. As with any great writing, Hard Times is as true as life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2004

    Its Good ,Really Good

    Personally I find the book curiously interesting.Charles Dickens did a great job and I understand it completly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2003

    A book for Hard Times

    If you read this book you will be glad that you were not part of the time then. Although there were lots of changes, still there was much control in what people could or could not do in their lives and work was limited to class, and education was also. Thie era was good to read about, but I just would not want to live in the way that most people lived then. The book was three books in one. The first was on 'Sowing* It was shown how the seeds were sown here. The the next one was *Reaping* which showed the outcome of actions that had come before, and then the third was *Garnering*, where all the pieces came together that were left, and put in order. I enjoyed the progression of the books in one. Was bored sometimes, because I did not see that there was a strong enough plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2003

    Book was o.k. but difficult

    Charles Dickens was a challenge for me. Four months I have been reading books and none of my other books were as difficult as this one. In the begining of the book, the author threw me off by the Old English writing. The story was okay but it probably would have been better if it did a little less detailing and more getting to the point. My problem was that I could read on in the book and not hardly comprehend anything. To tell the truth, I had to go to sparknotes.com just for better understanding of the book. The story was good, but the way the book was written just threw me off a little. So if your a reader out there looking for a challenge in your reading, I suggest that you read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2003

    Good Choice

    This book is an interesting book and very detailed. Some parts in this book get complicated, but I would read it again. The begging of it starts out slow but by the time you get to the end you wish it wasn't over. Just when you think everything is going smoothly there is someone there to cause conflict rather it be Tom, Louisa, Stephen or Sissy. If you like books that explain almost every detail this is a great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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