The story, published in 1854, concerns one Thomas Gradgrind, a "demonstrable truth fanatic," who raises his children, Tom and Louisa, in a grim and arid atmosphere of practicality. Without a moral compass to direct them, children plunge into life of poverty and misery, played out against the bleak backdrop of Coketown, a desolate city shaded by an industrial behemoth. Louisa enters into a loveless marriage with Josiah Bouderby, a filthy banker, while the unscrupulous Tom, utterly lacking in morals, becomes a criminal who frames an innocent man for his crime. Witnessing the deterioration and devastation of his children, Gradgrind realizes that his own wrong values have destroyed their lives. Witnessing the deterioration and devastation of his children, Gradgrind realizes that his own wrong values have destroyed their lives. Considered the cruelest condemnation by Dickens of the mid-19th-century industrial practices and their dehumanizing consequences, this novel offers a fascinating tapestry of Victorian life, packed with the richness of detail, clever characterization and passionate social concern that characterizes the finest works of the writer.
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