While some in my book group found this book difficult to get into, others were intrigued by the similarity of themes to contemporary times. Are we not concerned about those with rigid beliefs that defy understanding and who reject any attempt to reason? That would be the characters of Gradgrind and Bounderby. Do we not sympathize with workers subjected to inhumane conditions, miners, factory workers, particularly in foreign countries? That would be the workers in Coketown, Dickens' fictional setting for this novel. Love thwarted, parents who misunderstand children, people who spy on others, people stuck in their unfortunate circumstances, bad marriages, these are all interesting themes explored in this book, one of Dickens shorter novels. Give it a chance beyond the first 20 pages.
From the back cover: No other work of Dickens presents so relentless an indictment against the callous greed of the Victorian industrial society and its misapplied utilitarian philosophy a ths fiercest of his novels. With savage bitterness Dickens unmasks the hellish industries that imprisoned the bodies of the helpless labor class and the equally satanic institutions that shackled the development of their minds.
A classic by Dickens, just not quite my cup of tea.
"Murdering the innocent! Facts, Facts. Teach these children facts, not fancies. Sense, not sentimentality. Conformity, not curiosity. Proof and demonstration, not poetry and drama. . . On this bleak tenet is run the Gradgrind model day school."
I had to read this for my English Composition 2 Class. It was HARD to get through it. I sat reading this little 277 page book for over 10 hours and still not finishing it. Maybe a different style, I could have read it without my mind wandering.
i READ THIS AS AN ATTEMPT AT CULTURAL ENRICHMENT. OKAY I SUPPOSE YOU REALLLY HAVE TO GET INTO THE STYLE OF DIALOUGE OF THE AGE. THIS PROVED RATHER DIFFICULT FOR ME TO FOCUS ON THE STORY. ALL IN ALL SOMEWHAT DEPRESSING.