By Charles Dickens

Hard Times--Dickens's shortest novel and one in all his triumphs--tells the tragic tale of Louisa Gradgrind and her father and has had lasting entice generations of readers.

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This is the new discovery. This is fact. ” The girl curtseyed, and sat down. She was very young, and she looked as if she were frightened by the matter-of-fact prospect the world afforded. “Now, if Mr. McChoakumchild,” said the gentleman, “will proceed to give his first lesson here, Mr. ” Mr. Gradgrind was much obliged. “Mr. ” So Mr. McChoakumchild began in his best manner. He and some one hundred and forty other schoolmasters had been lately turned at the same time, in the same factory, on the same principles, like so many pianoforte legs.

Sleary, the circus proprietor MRS. SPARSIT, an elderly lady; Mr. Bounderby’s housekeeper BOOK THE FIRST Sowing CHAPTER I The One Thing Needful ‘NOW, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children.

Now that the occasional indignation has spread and deepened into a passionate revolt against the whole industrial order of the modern world. The “modern world” of which Shaw speaks is represented by a triumphant industrial, colonialist England portrayed in the novel. It is a culture more and more consecrated to profits, a nation more and more divided into the land of the rich and the land of the poor. Hard times are not merely difficult days; they are the time when the national hymn is mathematics, and we can see how Dickens refused to sing that song.

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