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Hard Times

By Charles Dickens (2)

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Charles Dickens’s 1854 critique of Utilitarian philosophy, Hard Times examines a world where rigid materialism crushes the human spirit. Set in the northern industrial city, Coketown, the novel follows the fortunes of a cast of characters, including Thomas Gradgrind and his children, Louisa and Tom. Schoolmaster Gradgrind teaches facts, and only facts. There is no room for imagination or fancy in his worldview, so when his children head to Sleary’s touring circus, he is appalled. He catechizes their friend, Sissy, daughter of a circus member, who understands horses, but cannot define them, which ultimately reveals the limits of Gradgrind’s brand of rational thinking. Meanwhile, his own children become alienated from him. Gradgrind and his associate, Bounderby, force Sissy to choose between the circus and school, and she reluctantly leaves the circus. Louisa is sacrificed in marriage to the much older Bounderby, but eventually flees his household. Tom meets a bad end, as does the oppressed laborer, Stephen Blackpool. Only Sissy finds a kind of happiness, while Mr. Gradgrind learns through tragedy to live by faith, hope, and charity, finally understanding the heart triumphs over reason. Dickens’ novels are consistently deemed must-reads, and this literary classic is no exception.

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  • Teaching Unit: Hard Times (eBook) cover

    Teaching Unit: Hard Times (eBook)

    Prestwick House
    101 Pages, Grades 7 - 12
    Was: $29.99 (USD)
    Now: $28.49  Add to cart


    Teaching Unit: Hard Times (eBook)

    For either the new or experienced teacher, Prestwick House's Teaching Units serve as a useful resource for teaching a new book, with a broad selection of eBook guides available for immediate download. Chapter-by-chapter exercises help students achieve scholarly objectives with essay and discussion questions, vocabulary lists, and a multiple-choice test. Educators will save time and energy with this indispensible teaching resource.This eBook is an entry in the Prestwick House Teaching Units series. Other best-selling titles include: The Lottery; Life of Pi; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; A Thousand Splendid Suns; The Outsiders; The Gift of the Magi; I Know What You Did Last Summer, and many more. The aforementioned best-selling eBook guides for teaching, as well as the rest of the series, can be accessed by clicking on the 'View All In Series' button to the left.

  • Novel Study: Hard Times (eBook) cover

    Novel Study: Hard Times (eBook)

    Teacher Tested Educational Publications
    69 Pages, Grades 8 - 12
    Was: $17.99 (USD)
    Now: $17.09  Add to cart


    Novel Study: Hard Times (eBook)

    This Novel Study supports the superb novel, Hard Times by Charles Taylor. All Teacher-Tested Novel Studies follow a similar format. Teachers can provide each student with a different novel but use similar assignments that include comprehension questions and visual interpretations, assignments in plot and conflict, character webs, timeline, vocabulary crosswords, and formats to respond to letter and essay writing assignments.