Riassunti capitoli 1-16 Hard Times
Chapter 1 The one thing needful
In the first chapter is presented the protagonist, Mr. Gradgrind as a man of realities and his school technique through his own words while he’s talking to Mr Chockumchild and the scholars.
Chapter 2 Murdering the innocents
Sissy Jupe entrance in the story. Dialogue between her and Mr Gradgrind that explains Mr G. severity and in particular how imagination was repressed and replaced by reasoning and facts.
Chapter 3 A loophole
Mr G. walks home and he’s described as an affectionate father, eminently practical father. While he’s walking he sees two children watching the circus’ horse riding and he’s determined to teach them the best behavior with which he had educated his children but, then, he recognizes the two to be his children themselves and while he’s dragging them home they have a quarrel because they betrayed his doctrine, Louisa demonstrates that she can bear her father’s gazing eyes and declares him to be bored of everything.
Chapter 4 Mr Bounderby
Description of Mr Bounderby while he’s talking to Mrs Gradgrind describing his false poor childhood. He and MR G decide that Sissy Jupe must be expelled by the school because she had a bad influence on the other children and because she’s daughter of a horse rider. Louisa and Thomas are send to their room from their mother who is described to be less educated than her husband.
Chapter 5 The keynote
Description of the city as an idealistic industrialized polluted city during the Victorian Age, where people are similar to one another as the buildings around them, people obaide to a strict timetable related to work and factories work all day long contributing to create a sense of monotonously and madness. Mr B and Mr G are walking to Sissy’s home and find her chased by Bitzer, this confirms them that she’s a bad influence and she lead them to her home.
Chapter 6 Clearly’s horsemanship
Arrived at Sissy’s house, they discover her to be abandoned by her father, so Mr G decides to adopt her, in this way he demonstrate to have a big heart and also he hope that staying at his home she would change her mentality.
Chapter 7 Mrs Sparsit
Is presented the figure of Mrs Sparsit and her affection towards Mr B. He explains her Mr G plan about Sissy and his worries concerning the influence she could have on Louisa that Mrs S tries to reduce as a daughter for Mr B, but he explains she’s not. Sissy, that continues to talk about fancy and imagination, becomes like a servant for Mrs Gradgrind.
Chapter 8 Never wonder
Firstly is described an old memory of Louisa when her father told her to never wonder, next is underlined the presence of a library full of imaginary books in Cock town where people goes after work to desire something far from that city. Next Louisa and Tom, while talking, become closer to one another and the sister make a promise to her brother: to protect and support him for all her life. Tom confesses to Louisa that he his bored of that kind of life and explains her his desire to escape from there and next his plan to feel better: since Mr B is in love with Louisa, he could could say him that she felt better if Tom would have been treated better. At the end of the chapter Louisa watch the fire, wondering something far, something different and Mrs Gradgrind stops her ordaining her to not think about wonder “I have such unmanageable thoughts that they will wonder”.
Chapter 9 Sissy’s progress
Sissy complains with Louisa of her stupidity but Louisa tells her that is better to have emotion than to soffocate them and became a reasonable robot.
Sissy make Louisa aware of the death of her mother and about her desire that her daughter would be instructed and educated, the she speaks about her father, his job, and his too heavy reaction to bad performance that pour in violence and depression, till the last time she has seen him.
Chapter 10 Stephen Blackpool
Is described the story of Blackpool, that lives at the suburbs of Cooktown, his difficult situation with Rachel and his wife that surprisingly has come back home even if he pays her to stay away.
Chapter 11 No way out
Blackpool goes to Bounderby’s house asking him any advice to get rid of his wife, he merely explains that he can’t do nothing because separation is just for rich people who has money to do that, moreover he can’t send her wife away and live with Rachel because law would punish him. Blackpool is depressed.
Chapter 12 The old woman
Blackpool exits from Bounderby’s house and meets an old woman, she asks him many questions about Bounderby, next she explains him that she comes to town once a year to see him and to see if he’s healthy, but this time he has never exit from home. Then the woman go with Blackpool to the mill where he works and leaves him. B. thinks about the woman the whole day while he’s in distress.
Chapter 13 Rachel
Blackpool comes back home and finds Rachel take care of his wife who is injured; Rachel remains there for all the night long, the sleep in the same room of the poor drunken wife and Blackpool dreams his marriage with Rachel. When he gets up his wife is going to drink a bottle of morphine as it was a alcohol bottle, that is near the first; B knows that it could be fatal and let there do it when Rachel gets up and stops her. Then Rachel goes home to take a sleep.
Chapter 14 The great manufacturer
Gradgrind recognize that his children are growing, so he puts Tom to work at Bounderby’s bank. He talks with Louisa about her low profit at school advising her that it is enough for her because she has other qualities “affectionate, earnest, good”. Later Mr G is elected as a member of the parliament and Louisa is become a woman, so his father asks her to go to his study to talk about something important, that is found by Tom to be her marriage with Mr B. Then Tom explains to his sister that if she marries Mr B she could help him with the job relation with him.
Chapter 15 Father and daughter
Louisa goes to her father study and they talk about the marriage; Louisa try to explain that she doesn’t love Mr Bounderby, but Mr Gradgrind rebut that what is important is not love but favorable statistics to marriage between people with different ages and profit. At the end, exhausted, Louisa accept the proposal.
Chapter 16 Husband and wife
Mr Bounderby is worried for advising Mrs Sparsit about his marriage, but, when he tells her, she starts laughing, then, since a married man doesn’t need an housekeeper, he proposes her to work in his bank, and she accepts. Some weeks later the wedding takes place and then starts the honeymoon, that, in real, is a business trip for Mr B to check his other factories. Tom thanks Louisa far having sacrificed herself.