Friday, 23 August 2013

''Hard Times''- Book review

Author: Charles Dickens
Published: 1854

Genres: Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5


Compared to other Charles Dickens novels, there are relatively a few characters in this novel, and no noticeable subplot. ''Hard Times'' is the shortest novel by Charles Dickens. It is also the only Charles Dickens novel not to have any scenes in London.

The story is set in an industrial town named Coketown. Here, the working class people who work in the mills, known as ''Hands'', are subject of many ''fictions''. The owner of some such mills is the ruthless and easily detestable Mr Bounderby, who is always declaring that he is a self made man and how an unprivileged childhood he had had. Mr Bounderby's friend is Thomas Gradgrind, who is so fond of facts that he has never let his children read anything, or know anything fictional. He has given strict education to his children from their childhood. His two eldest children, Louisa and Tom, play important roles in the story. After Louisa turns into a young woman, Mr Bounderby, who is at least thirty years older than her, proposes his marriage with her, which she accepts due to some reasons revealed in course of the novel.

A part of this novel deals with Louisa's married life and the difficulties she comes across, how the strict education from her childhood made her emotionless. The latter part of this novel deals with a crime for which an honest person is apparently falsely accused.

Dickens's characters play a more vital role in his novels that his stories do. The character development in this shortest novel of his is no less significant. My favorite characters in this novel are Louisa, Rachael and Sissy. These three characters have got much emphasis and depth. Stephen Blackpool is also a likeable character. Louisa can be considered the main character of this novel. I really felt sympathy for Louisa. Mr Bounderby and Mrs Sparsit were quite detestable.

''Hard Times'' was mostly a grim novel. With a relatively few characters (if compared to the other Dickens novels), the novel spends much time giving emphasis to the sad lives of Louisa, Stephen, Rachael, and also the unfortunate love of James Harthouse.
I really liked this novel. Despite being comparatively short in length, the development of the characters and incidents were really very good. 

4 out of 5

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