Hard Times Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

Hard Times book cover
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Comment on the sub-division of the novel Hard Times into sowing, reaping and garnering.

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Sowing, reaping, and garnering (harvesting) are terms with Biblical connotations that emphasize the results of Gradgrind's "sowing" a utilitarian philosophy in his children. The novel illustrates, attacks, and condemns the mechanization of life under industrialism and the way it warps the human spirit in service of greed and profit. 

Gradgrind reaps and garners what he sows when he raises his two children, Louisa and Tom, to focus on the practical and material aspects of life to the exclusion of attention to the full human spirit, including the imagination and developing generous, loving hearts that can transcend financial calculation. As a result, Louisa ends up in an unfulfilling marriage with an older man and is tempted to elope with Harthouse. Tom...

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