Places & Characters in the Novel Hard Times

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Thomas Gradgrind: He is an embodiment of the message of Hard Times. He is “Eminently practical” and a man of facts. He is an owner of school, Louisa’s father; desperately harboring the dream to become M.R Towards the end of the novel, he realizes the faults of the principle of education i.e. “Facts”.

Louisa Gradgrind: She is Thomas Gradgrind’s daughter, wife of Bounderby and sister of Tom. She is a prey to his father’s education system who finally leaves her husband and lover.

Tom Gradgrind: A sullen, sensuous brother of Louisa— a ‘whelp’ working in Bounderby’s bank. He later on robs his bank.

Josiah Bounderby: A banker prosperous man, the close friend and patron of Gradgrind’s family He marries Gradgrind’s daughter Louisa because he has been loving her from a very long time.

Mrs. Sparsit: The destitute widow of once wealthy drunkard Powler. She is the housekeeper of Bounderby

Sissy Jupe: Sissy is a stroller’s child. She is the link between all the leading characters. She is the student of Thomas Gradgrind but remains unaffected by his teaching of facts. She renders great services to the Gradgrind’s family.

James Harthouse: The idle brother of Mr. Gradgrind’s Parliamentary friend. He tries to win Louisa’s heart but fails in his plot.

Bitzer: The porter in Bounderby’s bank. He is one of the model pupils of Gradgrind. He believes in self-advancement and self- interest. He spies on Tom’s activities.

Stephen Blackpool: The representative of exploited labor class. He plays an important role in the story as a man of perfect integrity innocence and ends as a heroic martyr.

Rachael: She is an “angel” of Stephen, very much loyal to him and his best friend in the dark hours.

Mr. Sleary: Manager of a traveling circus.
Mrs. Pegler: An upright old lady, the mother of Josiah Bounderby.

Mrs. Gradgrind: The mother of Louisa and Tom, a colorless personality.

Signor Jupe: The father of Sissy Jupe and working in Sleary’s circus.

Slackbridge: The leader of the United Aggregate Tribunal, the newly organized union of workers.

Mr. M’Choakumchild: The schoolmaster of Gradgrind’s model-school.

Kidderminister: Works in Sleary’s circus.

Mr. Childers: The worker in Sleary’s circus.

Coketown: The setting of the story. It is a town of mills in the industrial north of England.

Stone Lodge: The name of the residence of Thomas Gradgrind, situated on the outskirt of Coketown.

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