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Hard Times

Hard Times

by Charles Dickens

Hard Times Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Which parts of the plot would have to change if Hard Times were set in the present? Which would stay the same?
  2. Try to imagine what it might have been like to read the novel the way people first read it – a short section once a week. How is being told when to stop and start reading different from reading the whole thing at once and having control over where to stop? Is it like the difference between watching a TV drama versus a movie?
  3. Is the ending satisfying? What would you have liked to see happen to the characters? Why does Dickens frustrate his readers by not giving them what they want in every case?
  4. Could this novel have been written in the first person? Which character's voice would you most like to hear telling the story? Is there a character who just couldn't work as the narrator? Why not?
  5. Imagine that you could create a soundtrack for the novel. Are there songs you can think of that would match key moments in the plot? Can modern music work with the ideas and emotions in this text? Are there some musical genres better suited to this novel than others?

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