Hard Times is a celebrated novel written by one of the greatest English novelists and also supposed the greatest, Charles Dickens. In this novel, Dickens argues for the cause of the poor and also for the cause of the emotions and their place in the life. He rejects the life which is only meant for the pursuit of our senses and he tries to let the readers know that emotions do form a greater part of our lives. We do need to be compassionate about people and things and we do need to feel, other than thinking critically and rationally.
Characters of Louisa and Sissy Jupe are the ones which offer solace to the readers. Sissy is the daughter of a circus man and she is ousted from the school because she ‘feels’ and ‘thinks’ less. Louisa, the daughter of Gradgrind, who is a hardcore rational person, is unlike him. Tom is a misguided youth who becomes the reason of Blackpool’s death later in the novel; Tom is the like father like son character and he is the son of Gradgrind. Bounderby, another bully, is a friend to Gradgrind and is later married to Louisa.
The novel is very rich in language. Written in, perhaps, a very lucrative language, the novel also has a workable plot and a simple story which try to convince the readers that despite all the progress we make in life, we need companions and family to enjoy the happiness we have. Only success and material piles of wealth cannot be the destiny of our lives. The circus can be seen as a metaphor in the novel which has been pushed far from the town and people only go there when the town makes them sad and worried.
To sum up, not so fitting for the modern readers, Hard Times is still is the novel to be read and to understand the fact that what life was like during the age of economic ushering in England. It can well be read and seen as a social document of Victorian England.