Sparsit dragged his very respectable and kind mother to the public eye, thinking her to be an aid to Stephen Blackpool in the Bank robbery. Successivamente incontra un suo amico, Josiah Bounderby, molto simile a lui per le idee riguardo fatti e calcoli. Gradgrind tells Bounderby that Louisa resisted Harthouse's advances but has experienced a crisis and needs time to recover. But, obviously Gradgrind thinks everything is fine — because since when do robots care about that kind of thing? It's a great read about a horrible time, filled with lessons still worth learning. Only Stephen refuses to join because he feels that a union strike would only increase tensions between employers and employees. Gradgrind takes her in as a servant.
He has fallen in love with Rachael, who is always generous and kind. Louisa and Thomas, two of Mr. Bounderby to be a self-made man, deserted by cruel parents at a young age… until Mrs. Sissy, the circus performer's daughter, does badly at school, failing to remember the many facts she is taught, but is genuinely virtuous and fulfilled. Bounderby's factory workers, restless with their bad lot and stirred on by the fiery words of a sleazy union orator named Slackbridge, decide to form a union. Bounderby to be a fraud. His escape abroad is nearly stopped by Bitzer, but Sleary, his horse and his trained dog effect Toms escape nevertheless.
He soon sees the error of these beliefs however, when his children's lives fall into disarray. Louisa's brother Tom works for Bounderby, and has become reckless and wayward in his conduct. Sissy seeks out Harthouse , telling him to leave and never come back. Gradgrind keeps her at home to tend to his invalid wife. Sparsit, a former aristocrat who has fallen on hard times and now works for Bounderby, he sets about trying to corrupt Louisa. Gradgrind now learns from Sissy and Louisa that it is Tom that is the bank robber. She does not come back.
Coketown may be partially based on 19th-century. People also suspect an old woman who periodically comes in to town to watch the bank for unknown reasons. Yes, sorry, no happy ending for the only decent guy in the whole book. Louisas marriage is unhappy, and James Harthouse, a politician, attempts to seduce her. Bounderby, angry for this news, goes to Mr. A year later, Louisa is still pretty miserably married to gross Bounderby. Together they arrive to the house of Sissy to speak with her dad, because the school is too hard for his children, but they don't find him.
As the Gradgrind children grow older, Tom becomes a dissipated, self-interested hedonist, and Louisa struggles with deep inner confusion, feeling as though she is missing something important in her life. On entering his house he finds that his drunken wife, who has been living apart from him, has made an unwelcome return. He is an intense follower of Utilitarian ideas. Besides, Tom tells Stephen he has an idea to help him; he tells him to hang around the bank as if he was going to do something there. He is fished out, pleads his innocence about the robbery, and dies.
Thinking of Rachael makes his long days happy, while he works the mechanized loom at the factory owned by Bounderby, the person Stephen turns to for advice about ending his marriage. One of Dickens's reasons for writing Hard Times was that sales of his weekly periodical, , were low, and it was hoped the novel's publication in instalments would boost circulation — as indeed proved to be the case. After all, Bitzer has learned only to advance his own self-interest, which at this point indicates that he should capture Tom to get the probable reward. Louisa sospetta che suo fratello abbia ingannato Stephen facendogli una falsa offerta, spingendolo a bighellonare intorno alla banca. Stephen does so, but no help arrives.
Stephen knows he cannot help his wife, who is an alcoholic and a thief. Louisa does not remarry, but finds some happiness in helping Sissy care for her own children. Gradgrind and Bounderby arrive at the Pegasus' Arms, the Coketown public-house where Sissy, her father, and the rest of Sleary's circus were staying. Gradgrind and Louisa plan for him to slip out of the country. Bounderbys house is in fact his mother, and that he does not have a humble origin as he has claimed. Rachel, dopo una lunga malattia, ritorna a lavorare.
While Sissy and her father were very close once, Mr. Pegler—a known associate of Stephen Blackpool—in to see Bounderby, thinking Mrs. Pegler - an old woman who sometimes visits Coketown to observe the Bounderby estate. Bounderby, and Sissy stays back with Mr. On his way back to Coketown to clear his name, he falls into Old Hell Shaft, a huge pit in the ground. He mostly just coasts on his good looks, his wealth, and his attitude of completely not caring about anything or anyone.
The Gradgrinds band together to help Tom escape rather than face justice. Pegler, a strange old woman with an inexplicable devotion to Bounderby. Bounderby is as unpleasant as ever, and Gradgrind has now been elected to Parliament. Though alive when rescued, he dies after asking Gradgrind to restore his good name. Sleary - the owner of the circus which employs Sissy's father.