Friday, January 04, 2019

'Hard Times' by Charles Dickens

4 January 2019

“Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts.” I was familiar with the words of Thomas Gradgrind which open ‘Hard Times’ by Charles Dickens but was surprised how little of the rest of the novel I knew. ‘Hard Times’ focuses on the social and industrial conditions in Coketown – a northern mill town, clearly modeled on Manchester. There is a weighty helping of Dickens’ witty prose, sometimes bordering on whimsy, but the plot emerges only very gradually, with the importance of several key events only revealed much later in hindsight. ‘Hard Times’ has a surprisingly small cast of principal characters – though they are beautifully drawn. Dickens works hard to convey the local dialect in print, making some of the book quite difficult to read. But his social campaigning messages are clear and entertainingly delivered. If you haven’t read any Dickens I wouldn’t start with ‘Hard Times’ but it was interesting to discover this tale for the first time.



Post a Comment

<< Home