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Word Count: 361
Charles Dickens novel Hard Times is a story of two struggles--the struggle of fact versus imagination and the struggle between two classes It takes place in Coketown and industrial-age English city The novel is divided into two sections One deals with the struggle of upper class members of society and their struggle to learn the value of imagination The other involves a working class man who is trapped by those in that upper class who trap him in a dreary existence Thomas Gradgrind the father of Louisa Tom and June not only stresses facts in the classroom in which he teaches but also at home to his family Thomas has brought up his children to know nothing but facts Everything is black and whiteright or wrong-- nothing in between He discourages such fanciful motions as going to the circus or having flowered carpet Everyone knows one cannot have flowered carpet One would trample all over them and they would end up dying In Hard Times two classes are relevant in Coketown The upper class which were few in numbers are dominant over the middle class which is larger in numbers Stephen Blackpool represents the working class He is a warm-hearted man trapped in thes run down society He feels he deserves this mediocre lifestyle Blackpool was originally employed under Bounderby but is fired for standing up for his beliefs This type of behavior was totally unacceptable during the period of time as it involved imagination and independance Bounderby portrayed himself as a self-made manwhen in fact he had eveything handed to him with a silver spoon His mother gave him the very best of everything including a wonderful education This demonstrates that the upper and middle classes were not just two different classes but two different worlds The book concludes with the upper class characters being forced into accepting that something other than facts exist Thomas Gradgrind has
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