Gradgrind rules Coketown with Utilitarian facts and figures, killing fantasy in the young minds he teaches. Hard Times does not follow a single main character, but rather a community driven by materialism that, without humanity, oppresses all who dwell within it.
Hard Times was my first conscious exposure to the ideas of Utilitarianism and I loved the portrayal. I also found it to be more serious than many of the other Dickens novels I’ve read, a short attempt at depth in characterization (only a little, though – the writing is still mostly an expression of ideas and stereotypes).
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