Hard Times, set in 19th century England, explores the moral and social thinking of the time. The rise of self-interest and the climb to the top has forced people to dehumanize themselves, and be more like the machines that run their daily lives. The Gradgrind family learns all too well the effects of social status on the soul as the family patriarch masks his own selfish interests in charitable donations and funding of schools.
He raises his children, and one adopted child to be the same way. One child, Tom, will commit a crime, leaving a peasant to take the fall. He must decide whether to confess his crimes or run while another child, Louisa, marries a man twice her age at the request of her father and the urging of Tom. Louisa has a crisis of conscious when she gets involved in a love triangle she will not easily be able to escape. The adopted child, Sissy, will have to hold them all together as their lives start to unfurl and they learn that money cannot buy everything.
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