Claudia's Reviews > Hard Times

Hard Times by Charles Dickens
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's review
Apr 19, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: classics-i-should-have-read-years-b
Recommended to Claudia by: Dennis Miller, Elizabeth
Recommended for: AP Lit students!
Read in June, 2009

First book I finished this summer! I love Dickens for his insights and his ironies. He can, with a straight face, say one thing about a character, leading us to believe the exact opposite. Mrs. Sparsit and Mr. Bounderby are fine, upstanding citizens...or are they? Mr. Gradgrind's school, 'facts, nothing but facts!' reminds me of the direction we're being driven today...tests, nothing but tests. Sissy, bless her heart, doesn't fall for facts, and reminds us a bit of fancy in our lives can give us compassion, emotion, love. Poor Loo and Tom have been raised on facts, and neither of them fared as well as Sissy. There's a robbery, unrequited love, spying, gossip that doesn't go well for the gossiper.

The backdrop of the factory in Coketown shows us another side of Fact vs. Fancy...facts, at least the oppressor's version of the facts easily keep workers chained to their jobs, completely dependent on the factory owners. Poor Stephen -- he has so many positive qualities but can never crawl out of the factory. He is, indeed, thrown out, on Bounderby's whim, showing us again, without heart and soul, nothing works -- not education, not commerce.

The final ironies in the "Garnering" section of the book reminds me why I love Dickens. He manages to skewer Utilitarians and factory bosses, and reminds us of the joy of imagination and love.

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Reading Progress

05/10/2009 page 150
05/10/2009 page 150
42.49% "I love Dickens' sly irony...and I hate this type of education: Facts! Nothing but FACTS!" 1 comment
05/24/2009 page 250
70.82% "Now I'm seeing his crusading against the huge factories that abused so many workers, himself included. I see many of his themes playing out."
06/02/2009 page 380
100% "I love Dickens' sly humor and insightful eye to human behavior!"

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Alexis (new) - added it

Alexis Van Swearingen Eeeeek I started this book today! I'm SOOO GLAD our education system isn't like this!

Claudia Alexis wrote: "Eeeeek I started this book today! I'm SOOO GLAD our education system isn't like this!"

Oh, I agree...neither of us would be happy or successful under this system, sould we??

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