Literature: Hard Times

Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them.

Hard Times is a novel by Charles Dickens, which savagely and relentlessly rips apart the school of Utilitarianism and its applications to the working man. Mr. Gradgrind dictates that the school of his little town shall teach nothing but facts — strict and severe, exact and all-encompassing. He indoctrinates this teaching in his two children, Louisa and Thomas.

Meanwhile, Stephen Blackpool, one of the dehumanized "Hands" who work in the town's factories, is living a hard life, and merely trying to get by, while staying close to his dear Rachael and avoiding the threatening unions.

In short, times are hard.

This work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Author Tract
  • Butt Monkey: Stephen Blackpool
  • Emotionless Girl: Louisa Gradgrind
    • Except she does feel emtions, it's just that she was never taught how to deal with with them and tried to ignore them until they finally threatened to overwhelm her. She then turns to her father for help, which leads to a CMOH for them both.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father
  • Funetik Aksent: We have Rachel (low class Lancashire), Stephen (very Lancashire), and Sleary (pronounced lisp). The remainder, who are 'normal', are probably speaking the King's.
  • Jerkass: Bounderby
  • Meaningful Name: This book is full of them. Mr Gradgrind, the schoolmaster grinds out graduates and Mr. M'Choakumchild who chokes children with facts.
  • Oop North
  • Stepford Smiler: Mrs Gradgrind
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Mr. Gradgrind forced his two eldest children to learn facts all day long for everyday of their childhood, telling them that things like imagination and emotions were worthless and should be rejected. Why? because that way they could work more efficiently and earn more money, which he believed to be the best way to make them happy.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Sissy Jupe
  • What Have I Done
  • Writer on Board: Look no further than Chapter V, The Keynote.