Hard Times

discuss hard times as the study of escape

hard times

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The theme of escape really underscores the difference between the lives of the wealthy and the lives of the poor. In Stephen Blackpool, we find a decent man who seeks to escape from his failed marriage but he cannot even escape into his dreams for peace. On the other hand, we find Tom Gradgrind who indulges in gambling, alcohol and smoking as "escapes" from his humdrum existence. And after he commits a crime, his father helps him to escape through Liverpool. Again, Louisa Gradgrind desires a similar escape from the grind of the Gradgrind system, though she resorts to imagined pictures in the fire rather than a life of petty crime. Finally, "Jem" Harthouse rounds out the options available to the nobility. With all of his life dedicated to leisure, even his work assignment is a sort of past-time from which he easily escapes when the situation has lost its luster.