Hard Times (Charles Dickens)

Hard Times (Charles Dickens)

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Dickens's great novel of social protest in 19th-century England Thomas Gradgrind, a wealthy, retired merchant, is a cold and industrious man obsessed with facts, statistics, and practicality. He raises his oldest children, Louisa and Tom, according to this philosophy, never allowing them to engage in what he considers to be fanciful pursuits. But when poor Louisa is forced into a loveless marriage to the much older, self-made Josiah Bounderby, she and Tom must risk anger, betrayal, and heartache to break free of their restricted lives and find the happiness they have been so long denied.