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In the English industrial city of Coketown, Thomas Gradgrind, a wealthy retired businessman, has devoted his life to a rationalism, self-interest, and fact-based worldview. This is how he educates his two oldest children, Louisa and Tom, and he never permits them to indulge in frivolous or imaginative activities. After the absence of her circus performer father, he establishes a school and generously adopts Sissy Jupe as one of the pupils.
Tom develops into a jaded, self-centered hedonist as the Gradgrind kids age, while Louisa battles intense inner confusion and the sense that she is missing something significant from her life. Louisa eventually weds wealthy factory owner and banker Josiah Bounderby, who is more than twice her age. Bounderby frequently boasts about being a self-made success whose mother left him as a newborn in the street. Sissy stays in the Gradgrind residence to look after the smaller children while Tom is an apprentice at the Bounderby bank. This Hard Times quiz will help you remember certain details.
Hard Times quiz
Stephen Blackpool, a lowly “Hand”—Dickens’s word for the lowest workers in Coketown’s factories—fails to reconcile his love for Rachael, a different lowly factory worker. He already has a terrible, inebriated wife who vanishes for weeks, months, or even years at a period, so he is unable to marry her. When Stephen goes to Bounderby to inquire about divorces, he discovers that only those with money can do so. Bounderby runs across Mrs. Pegler, an odd elderly woman who has an illogical loyalty to Bounderby, outside of his house. Also, you must try to play this Hard Times quiz.
Rich retired merchant in Coketown, England; later elected to the House of Commons. Mr. Gradgrind is a proponent of the rationality, self-interest, and cold, hard facts schools of thought. He calls himself “eminently realistic” and seeks to instill this trait in his six children Louisa, Tom, Jane, Adam Smith, and Malthus by discouraging the expression of their emotions and ideas.
Daughter of Gradgrind who eventually became Bounderby’s wife. Louisa is confused by her heartless upbringing and feels cut off from her feelings and others. Louisa is unable to actively evoke her emotions or connect with others, despite the fact that she has a faint awareness of how her father’s educational system robbed her childhood of all happiness. So, despite not loving her husband, she marries Bounderby to appease her father. Tom, her brother, is the only one she truly loves.
Thomas Gradgrind, Jr
Tom, commonly known as Gradgrind’s eldest son and an apprentice at Bounderby’s bank. Tom develops into a jaded, hedonistic, and cynical young man as a result of his harsh upbringing. Tom recognizes his sister’s passion, but he is unable to reciprocate it fully because he loves money and gaming even more than he loves Louisa. These vices drive him to loot Bounderby’s bank, making Stephen the main suspect in the robbery.
friend of Gradgrind who subsequently became Louisa’s husband. Bounderby boastfully claims to be a self-made man and brazenly talks about how his mother abandoned him as a young child. He overcame adversity as a kid to become a banker and factory owner in Coketown, where he is well-known for his riches and influence. His actual upbringing by loving and dedicated parents proves that his claims of social mobility are false and cast doubt on the idea of social mobility in nineteenth-century England as a whole.
About the Hard Times quiz
15 multiple-choice questions in the free Hard Times quiz below will help you gauge your knowledge of the book. Determine which chapters, ideas, and writing techniques you already understand, as well as what you still need to learn in preparation for your forthcoming essay, midterm, or final test. Now take the free test!
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