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Hard Times Analysis
Literary Devices in Hard Times
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
This one is from the narrator and runs throughout the novel: the idea that the ugly, square, fact-based, oppressive mills look like fairy palaces with elephants in them when they are lit up at nigh...
Mid-19th century Victorian EnglandThe novel is set in the same time place that it was written – the mid-1800s in England. Because this was the time of Queen Victoria, this period is usually c...
Narrator Point of View
The novel is full of characters who are only completely unable to communicate with one another. What's more, most of them don't really even have a way of internally processing the events happening...
Family DramaDespite all the stuff about factories and workers, this novel is primarily about the way the decisions of a father (Gradgrind) play out in the lives of his children (Louisa and Tom). He...
When reading this novel, don't you often get the feeling that you're floating way above the action and looking down on a bunch of little ants scurrying around? That right there demonstrates how the...
In most of his novels, Dickens uses a few repeated tricks and touches. Because his writing is so easily identifiable, he is the kind of writer that's called a "stylist" – meaning that the sty...
What's Up With the Title?
There's no particular hidden agenda behind this title. What you see is pretty much what you get. Dickens looked out at the England of his day, where poor people were living in (you guessed it) real...
What's Up With the Ending?
Here's a little secret: endings are really, really hard to write. Think about it. Books are supposed to be about real life, and real life doesn't ever come to a convenient conclusion all of sudden....
There are a few things that might make this book a little tough. Thing one: it's set in Victorian England, so you really have to change your whole point of view to have some of the plot make sense....
Louisa and Tom are growing up in their father's Utilitarian educational systemFrom the very beginning, we can see how crazy the no-emotions no-morality system their father has been using to educate...
Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Rebirth
Louisa grows up under her father's tutelage.The "dark power" in this novel is the system of Utilitarianism that forces Louisa to repress her feelings and instead to see the world through statistica...
Three Act Plot Analysis
Louisa agrees to marry Bounderby, even though she does not love him, and rejects Sissy's friendshipThe bank robbery is discovered; Louisa agrees to meet Harthouse for a tryst but instead shows up a...
A few years after Hard Times was published, Dickens left Catherine, his wife of more than 20 years, and ten (ten!) children for a much younger actress, Ellen Ternan. (source)When Dickens was 12 yea...
For a book where sex isn't talked about or is talked about very, very euphemistically, a lot of sex (some of it quite gross) actually happens. First of all, there's the whole Bounderby-Louisa situa...
Adam Smith (1.4)Thomas Malthus (1.4)Daniel Defoe (1.8)Euclid (1.8)Edward Cocker (1.8)Greco-Roman mythology (throughout)The Arabian Nights (throughout)Twinkle, twinkle, little star (1.3)Tom Thumb (1...
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