Audiobook: Hard Times
1 - 01 - Book 1, Chapter 01, The One Thing Needful
- Download 01 - Book 1, Chapter 01, The One Thing Needful audio
- Download 02 - Book 1, Chapter 02, Murdering the Innocents audio
- Download 03 - Book 1, Chapter 03, A Loophole audio
- Download 04 - Book 1, Chapter 04, Mr. Bounderby audio
- Download 05 - Book 1, Chapter 05, The Keynote audio
- Download 06 - Book 1, Chapter 06, Sleary's Horsemanship audio
- Download 07 - Book 1, Chapter 07, Mrs. Sparsit audio
- Download 08 - Book 1, Chapter 08, Never Wonder audio
- Download 09 - Book 1, Chapter 09, Sissy's Progress audio
- Download 10 - Book 1, Chapter 10, Stephen Blackpool audio
- Download 11 - Book 1, Chapter 11, No Way Out audio
- Download 12 - Book 1, Chapter 12, The Old Woman audio
- Download 13 - Book 1, Chapter 13, Rachael audio
- Download 14 - Book 1, Chapter 14, The Great Manufacturer audio
- Download 15 - Book 1, Chapter 15, Father and Daughter audio
- Download 16 - Book 1, Chapter 16, Husband and Wife audio
- Download 17 - Book 2, Chapter 01, Effects in the Bank audio
- Download 18 - Book 2, Chapter 02, Mr. James Harthouse audio
- Download 19 - Book 2, Chapter 03, The Whelp audio
- Download 20 - Book 2, Chapter 04, Men and Brothers audio
- Download 21 - Book 2, Chapter 05, Men and Masters audio
- Download 22 - Book 2, Chapter 06, Fading Away audio
- Download 23 - Book 2, Chapter 07, Gunpowder audio
- Download 24 - Book 2, Chapter 08, Explosion audio
- Download 25 - Book 2, Chapter 09, Hearing the Last of It audio
- Download 26 - Book 2, Chapter 10, Mrs. Sparsit's Staircase audio
- Download 27 - Book 2, Chapter 11, Lower and Lower audio
- Download 28 - Book 2, Chapter 12, Down audio
- Download 29 - Book 3, Chapter 01, Another Thing Needful audio
- Download 30 - Book 3, Chapter 02, Very Ridiculous audio
- Download 31 - Book 3, Chapter 03, Very Decided audio
- Download 32 - Book 3, Chapter 04, Lost audio
- Download 33 - Book 3, Chapter 05, Found audio
- Download 34 - Book 3, Chapter 06, The Starlight audio
- Download 35 - Book 3, Chapter 07, Whelp-Hunting audio
- Download 36 - Book 3, Chapter 08, Philosophical audio
- Download 37 - Book 3, Chapter 09, Final audio
The shortest novel by far of Charles Dickens', Hard Times is also one of his most idea based works. In it, he launches a scathing attack on the prevailing fashion of believing in Utilitarianism, a philosophy that proposed the goal of society should be “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” Dickens felt that such a philosophy saw people as mere statistics and not as individuals.
The novel was published in serial form in his magazine Household Words. It is also the only novel where London is not featured. Set mainly in the fictional industrial town of Coketown, the book is divided into three sections “Sowing,” “Reaping” and “Garnering.”
It tells the story of a wealthy, retired industrialist, Thomas Gradgrind. His two children are brought up according to strict Utilitarian principles and their teaching is completely devoid of imagination and compassion. When the elder Gradgrind takes in an orphan called Sissy, events are set to take a turn. The Gradgrind children are completely under their father's control. As they grow, the son becomes a dissolute wastrel, while the daughter is compelled to marry a man thirty years her senior. How the Gradgrinds resolve these issues and how they begin to understand the true value of human life makes up the rest of the story.
Filled with memorable characters, as are all Dickens' novels, Hard Times is also the writer's attempt to reveal the dark side of the Industrial Revolution. Dickens was also trying to show that morality and wealth do not necessarily coexist. The overwhelming obsession with scientific temper, the worship of facts, the practical and materialistic ethos that was pervading the country in the Victorian era at the cost of all that was imaginative, humane and spiritual are other things that the writer was deeply concerned with.
Hard Times besides being Dickens' shortest work, is devoid of a preface and illustrations unlike all his other books. As a social protest novel, Hard Times also reflects the rapidly changing nature of society in Victorian England. The rise of a newly rich class, arrogant in their power to purchase anything and everything, completely devoid of social graces and the right pedigree was a phenomenon that bewildered many of the older generation. The world was also undergoing great periods of political unrest. Europe was changing and so was America which was then in the grip of the Civl War. Set against this background, Hard Times is a vivid portrayal of the era.
Tinged with dark humour and satire, this is indeed a great read for young and old readers!
Liked what you heard? Share it with your friends and family!.