Hard Times short summary & analysis

Hard Times



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Hard Times - Charles Dickens


Hard Times Analysis

Charles Dickens is a writer who best reflects the Victorian England and the effects of the Industrial Revolution on people and society. In 1838, he visited a factory in Manchester where he witnessed the situation of the workers in the cotton factory, after this he wrote Hard Times. He has worked in the fields of Economics Science and Utilitarianism, which form the basis of the Industrial Revolution theory, from the plot to the depictions and character names. The restrictive point of view of the science of statistics, which is of great importance in the 19th century, the negation of the feelings of inquiry, thinking and feeling brought about by mathematical certainty are important points that Dickens satirizes.

Hard Times Short Summary

45 years old Thomas Gradgrind, prides himself on cultivating his students at the educational institution that he owned, with the mindset of utilitarianism, one of the building blocks of the industrial revolution. According to Gradgrind, the only thing necessary for life is concrete facts. There is absolutely no place for free, creative imagination, individuality among these facts. Thomas, who teaches his five children in line with this principle, cannot believe his eyes when he comes home from school one day, trying to follow his children Louisa and Tom trying to follow the circus in town. According to him, there is no rationality to this action, and family dignity has been crippled. Her parents tend to behave in this way because Cesilia Jupe (Sissy), at her school, sees her father who works for the circus, goes to Coketown with her friend, Josiah Bounderby, to talk to the guy about getting her daughter out of school. Mr. Jupe is singing in the demonstrations because of the slowdown in his movements due to aging, and he feels great shame about this situation. In order not to give this shame to his daughter, he left the town without informing anyone. Gradgrind takes Sissy who is alone by taking the connection from the circus and takes over his education by himself.

Sissy has passed through the years of Gradgrinds training, but has not been mechanized as desired and lives in the hope that his father will return. Her friendship with Louisa breaks down after her admission to the marriage of Bounderby. This marriage, which is very important for Tom who works alongside Bounderby, is completely disrupted by the arrival of James (Jem) Harthouse, brother of Gradgrind's parliamentary friend. Impressed by James, Louisa takes refuge in her father to explain to him all her emotions so as to get rid of the emotional burden she carries. Harthouse also leaves the city upon Sissy's request. Bounderby who learns the truth from Ms. Sparsit, who is responsible for doing the work of her home, returns to her single life by dismissing Louisa, who has not returned yet despite the completion of her term.

Stephen Blackpool, who worked as a weaver in Bounderby's factory, was marginalized by her colleagues because she had not been warmly welcomed by the union representatives from Cooktown. Despite his attitude, when he does not snitch on Mr. Bounderby, he gets fired. He decides to try his luck in another city. An alcoholic who can not divorce from his wife, who does not come for a long time when she goes away, cannot marry the woman he loves, Rachel who works in the same factory. Tom, who witnessed Stephen speaking to Bounderby and heard his decision, promised to help Stephen, and told his boss's bank to wait for him around the bank. Stephen, who wandered around the bank for several days, could not find Tom, so he desperately followed his decision to go to another city to seek work. A few days later, Cooktown is shaken by the news that Bounderby's bank has been robbed. The whole city blames Blackpool. Rachel is the only one who does not agree with this accusation. She writes a letter to the wrongly accused Stephen and tells him to return to make this misunderstanding right. She tells Bounderby and the Gradgrind family about Stephen's speech with Tom. Louisa and Sissy who their communication got better when she came back home, and with Rachel they started to look forward to return of Blackpool. A beautiful fall day, Rachel and Sissy find Blackpool's hat at the bottom of a giant pit opened by an old coal-mines on a country trip. When Blackpool received the letter, he was on his way out of the labor camp sixty miles away, but his foot slipped and he fell to the well on his way to the home of Mr Bounderby. A few minutes after his removal from the well, he leaves this world, telling them that Tom will explain it to them. When it turns out that Tom has robbed the bank because of his gambling debts, the family decides to take Tom out of the country. With the help of Sissy's circus friends, Tom escapes to America and dies there. Five years later, Bounderby is found dead in the streets of Coketown. Sissy can never find out that his father is dead, he gets married and he has happy children. Rachel protects Stephen's wife until the end of her life.