Hard Times Author:Charles Dickens In Hard Times, says George Bernard Shaw, Charles Dickens means to show us "that it is not our disorder but our order that is horrible; that it is not our criminals by our magnates that are robbing and murdering us..." — "Order" in industrial Coketown is promoted by Mr. Gradgrind, who teaches his "model students" to Define, to Learn the Facts, and... more », above all, to Be Practical.
Disorder is what Sissy Jupe humorously provides, as with simple charm this little circus girl demonstrates how it is not only wrong but also perhaps impossible to place boundaries around the human heart and imagination.
A "masterpiece" is what F.R. Leavis calls this novel. "... of all Dickens's works it is the one that has all the strength of his genius, together with a strength no other of them can show - that of a completely serious work of art."« less