Hard Times Summary & Study Guide

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Hard Times begins in a classroom in the fictional English industrial town of Coketown, where Thomas Gradgrind is explaining his educational principles. He believes education should be based on facts and nothing else. On his way home, Gradgrind passes a circus and is shocked when he finds his two children, Thomas and Louisa, amusing themselves there. He scolds them and takes them home.

At Gradgrind's home, Bounderby is taking pride in explaining to Mrs. Gradgrind about his deprived childhood, when Gradgrind returns and worries about his children's interest in the circus. He and Bounderby decide this is probably because Cecilia (Sissy) Jupe, one of the pupils at the school, is the daughter of one of the circus men. Bounderby gives instructions for Sissy to be dismissed from the school.

Intending to meet Sissy's father, Gradgrind and Bounderby visit the circus folk at the...

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This section contains 1,295 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Hard Times Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Hard Times from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.