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艰难时世英文读后感

Reading Report of Hard Times

Book Information

The book Hard Times I read was published by Foreign Language Teaching and Research and pressed in 1994, its author is famous English novelist Charles Dickens, what?s more, this book contains 480 pages.

Story and My Reflection

The novel was set in Coketown, a northern industrial city. Thomas Gradgrind ruled his family and his school according to Utilitarianism, the philosophy of the time, which had as its aim the greatest possible happiness for the greatest possible number of people. However, the form of Utilitarianism which Dickens attacked in the novel wa s plain materialism that denies all other values than material ones, or “Facts” as they were called.

Thomas Gradgrind had two children Louisa and Tom. They were caught by their father when they tried to see Sleary?s Circus, where the clown Jupe works. Jupe ha d a daughter Sissy, and when Jupe left the circus and his daughter, Gradgrind invited her to come and live with his family.

Josiah Bounderby was the rich owner of the Coketown factories. He was a proud self-made man; but once and again his house was observed by a strange old woman. Stephen Blackpool wa s one of Bounderby?s workers. Blackpool ha d a troubled life. He had an alcoholic wife, who had left him, but he cannot be divorced from her. He was in love with Rachel, a factory girl. When a strike broke out and Blackpool was not willing to join the trade union his mates would not have anything to do with him. He was fired, and he had to leave town.

Tom Gradgrind started to work in Bounderby?s bank, and Bounderby propose d to Louisa. Though she was 30 years younger than him, she accepted. Bounderby?s housekeeper Mrs. Sparsit wa s jealous. Louisa?s marriage was unhappy, and James Harthouse, a politician, attempted to seduce her.

Bounderby?s bank was robbed by Tom. However, it was Steven Blackpool who was suspected, and Bitzer, a clerk in the bank gave evidence against him. Mrs. Sparsit

had discovered the relationship between Harthouse and Louisa and spied upon them. Louisa turned Harthouse down, and she went home to her father to talk to him about her problems. He came near to realizing that his upbringing of his children based on “Facts” ha d been a misunderstanding. Gradgrind now sheltered Louisa from Bounderby, and the couple were permanently separated.

Stephen Blackpool was found dying in a disused mine shaft. He asked Gradgrind to clear his name.

Gradgrind now learned from Sissy and Louisa that it was Tom that was the bank robber. Tom was n ow hiding in Sleary?s Circus disguised as a clown. His escape d abroad was nearly stopped by Bitzer, but Sleary, his horse and his trained dog effect Tom?s escape nevertheless.

Mrs. Sparsit found out that the strange old woman outside Mr. Bounderby?s hou se was in fact his mother, and that he did not have a humble origin as he had claimed. He was not after all a self-made man.

Tom died abroad, and Gradgrind lived into old age rejecting his Facts and Figures, Faith, Hope and Charity had become his leading principles.

The hard time Dickens depicts has far been behind us, but this novel still stimulates us to ponder. Nowadays, in this rapidly developing society, people are turning out to be cooler or more business-like towards each other. With more skyscrapers built up, people lock themselves in the small match-boxes rather than to stroll around the neighborhood; with the emergence of countries crowned as …the country on the wheels?, people drive recklessly instead of walking and chatting leisurely; with computers striding into every family, people sit behind shining screening boasting with the unknown, substituting for visiting from one door to another. Does the development of industries have to sacrifice humanity? I believe this is the question everyone will deny. We all long for a harmonious world in which we live hand in hand, not a machine which stifles our emotions, fancies or imaginations. Brilliant Paragraphs

1. “Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only

form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the p rinciple on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, Sir!”

2. In the innocence of her brave affection, and the brimming up of her old devoted spirit, the once deserted girl shone like a beautiful light upon the darkness of the other “It was altog ether unaccountable that a young gentleman whose imagination had been strangled in his cradle, should be still inconvenienced by its ghost in the form of groveling sensualities; but such a monster, beyond all doubt, was Tom.”

3. It is known, to the force of a single pound weight, what the engine will do; but not all the calculators of the National debt can tell me the capacity for good or evil, for love or hatred, for patriotism or discontent, for the decomposition of virtue into vice, or the reverse, at any single moment in the soul of one of these quiet servants, with the composed faces and the regulated actions.

4. Coketown lay shrouded in a haze of its own, which appeared impervious to the sun…s rays. You only knew the town was there because you knew t here could have been no such sulky blotch upon the prospect without a town. A blur of soot and smoke, now confusedly tending this way, now that way, now aspiring to the vault of Heaven, now murkily creeping along the earth, as the wind rose and fell, or changed its quarter: a dense formless jumble, with sheets of cross light in it, that showed nothing but masses of darkness—Coketown in the distance was suggestive of itself, though not a brick of it could be seen.

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