Whimsy, imagination, and sentiment have been banned in the Gradgrinds' upper-class household, but in Coketown, whose working class inhabitants fight for their very survival, the ban becomes a merciless creed. There, all that matters are the grinding wheels of production. Hard Times reflects a harsh world of grueling labor and pitiless relationships. But it is also a story of hope, of something elemental in the human spirit that rises above its bleak surroundings.
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