Hard Times by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well, really: "what did you think?" ? I reread this book as I am considering it for AP English Lit. I read it for a high school class--I am pretty sure it was 10th grade, so that would be 1978-79. . . and, amazingly, I didn't remember much about it! it is a critique of materialism and industrialism, and a (sometimes strident) reminder that people have hearts and hands--they are both feelers and workers--and that our educational system needs to address both aspects. It's not as strong a book as Great Expectations: Dickens is angry in many parts of it, and his anger results in less deft, controlled writing, but it still has that Dickensian power of plot and the wonderful palette of characters and the occasional turns of phrase or description that work beautifully.
For Dickens, it's short(ish) at 276 pages in my Bantam Classic edition. It fits well with my first unit's theme (education), but I'm just not sure. I might use A Christmas Carol instead--shorter yet, and certainly filled with cultural resonance. Still, I'm glad I reread it!
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We had another stretch of grey, still, stuffy days, and then last night the skies cleared in time for the first outdoor movie of the summer (YAY! "Charlotte's Web"!) and around 3 am the breeze started and it was a picture-perfect summer day today, a day which included meeting with our new Dean of Curriculum at the Maine Grind, a great experience; a walk and lunch and chat with Lori, a long-overdue great experience, and then a walk around town and Mortons Moo visit with Andy, topped off by some lovely reading outside to finish the book above!