Hard Times

Hard Times

Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom) Character Analysis

Tom, the second oldest Gradgrind child, fares worse than Louisa in that his character is almost irrevocably deformed by his education of facts. He turns into a grumpy, sulky young man who ends up robbing a bank to help pay off his debts and nearly breaks the heart of his father and sister in the process.

Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom) Quotes in Hard Times

The Hard Times quotes below are all either spoken by Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom) or refer to Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of Hard Times published in 2001.
Book 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

There was an air of jaded sullenness in them both, and particularly in the girl: yet, struggling through the dissatisfaction of her face, there was a light with nothing to rest upon, a fire with nothing to burn, a starved imagination keeping life in itself somehow, which brightened its expression.

Related Characters: Louisa Gradgrind, Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom)
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Hard Times quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Book 1, Chapter 8 Quotes

‘I wish I could collect all the Facts we hear so much about,' said Tom, spitefully setting his teeth, ‘and all the Figures, and all the people who found them out: and I wish I could put a thousand barrels of gunpowder under them, and blow them all up together! However, when I go to live with old Bounderby, I'll have my revenge.'

Related Characters: Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom) (speaker), Josiah Bounderby
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excep

Book 1, Chapter 14 Quotes

‘Well, sister of mine,' said Tom, ‘when you say that, you are near my thoughts. We might be so much oftener together — mightn't we? Always together, almost — mightn't we? It would do me a great deal of good if you were to make up your mind to I know what, Loo. It would be a splendid thing for me. It would be uncommonly jolly!'

Related Characters: Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom) (speaker), Louisa Gradgrind
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

‘An individual, ma'am,' said Bitzer, ‘has never been what he ought to have been, since he first came into the place. He is a dissipated, extravagant idler. He is not worth his salt, ma'am. He wouldn't get it either, if he hadn't a friend and relation at court, ma'am!'

Related Characters: Bitzer (speaker), Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom), Mrs. Sparsit
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deser

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

‘Oh,' returned Tom, with contemptuous patronage, ‘she's a regular girl. A girl can get on anywhere. She has settled down to the life, and she don't mind. It does just as well as another. Besides, though Loo is a girl, she's not a common sort of girl. She can shut herself up within herself, and think — as I have often known her sit and watch the fire — for an hour at a stretch.'

Related Characters: Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom) (speaker), Louisa Gradgrind, James Harthouse
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident,

Book 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

‘Your brother. My young friend Tom — '

Her colour brightened, and she turned to him with a look of interest. ‘I never in my life,' he thought, ‘saw anything so remarkable and so captivating as the lighting of those features!'

Related Characters: James Harthouse (speaker), Louisa Gradgrind, Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom)
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla par

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book 3, Chapter 9 Quotes

A lonely brother, many thousands of miles away, writing, on paper blotted with tears, that her words had too soon come true, and that all the treasures in the world would be cheaply bartered for a sight of her dear face? At length this brother coming nearer home, with hope of seeing her, and being delayed by illness; and then a letter, in a strange hand, saying ‘he died in hospital, of fever, such a day, and died in penitence and love of you: his last word being your name'? Did Louisa see these things? Such things were to be.

Related Characters: Louisa Gradgrind, Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom)
Page Number: 223
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehende

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire Hard Times LitChart as a printable PDF.
Hard times.pdf.medium

Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom) Character Timeline in Hard Times

The timeline below shows where the character Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom) appears in Hard Times. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 3
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...But he cannot believe his eyes when he sees his two children, Louisa Gradgrind and Tom Gradgrind, peeping into a circus tent. This circus, by the way, features a horse-rider named... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...them away from the circus. Louisa, who is sixteen and a good deal older than Tom, speaks clearly in defense of herself that her curiosity compelled her to get a glimpse... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 4
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Mr. Gradgrind returns with Louisa and Thomas, having dragged them from the circus, and indignantly exposes the misbehavior of his children to... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 8
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Tom and Louisa are at home, moodily discussing their unhappy existence and resenting their education of... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 14
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Louisa and Sissy have grown into young women, and Tom is now a young man, apprenticed to Bounderby. Mr. Gradgrind's education of facts has not... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
...and her brother's musings, who are pondering something now that she is a young woman. Tom in particular hints at something that might soon fall in her path which could do... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 16
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
The day of the wedding comes, and Louisa and Mr. Bounderby are married. Tom thinks only of all the advantages he will gain by this marriage, such as how... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 2
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
His efforts are finally rewarded when Tom comes home, and Louisa's impassive face breaks into a warm, beautiful smile. Harthouse inwardly takes... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
After dinner, Jem Harthouse takes Tom back to his hotel, and handing him a drink and a cigar, converses with him... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Tom stumbles home at the end of all this talk, drink, and smoke, and the narrator... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 5
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Stephen joins Mr. Bounderby, Louisa, Tom, and Mr. Harthouse in the Bounderbys' drawing room. Bounderby demands that Stephen reveal details of... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 6
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...son who she lost, when suddenly there is a knock at the door. Louisa and Tom Gradgrind enter. From the look on his face, it is clear that Tom is not... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Tom then does something very unusual: he pulls Stephen aside into a corner, and tells him... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
In accordance with Tom's request, Stephen hangs around the Bank for about an hour every night before he leaves... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 7
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
...of his ungratefulness for all she's done for him, he pledges to try and help Tom out for Louisa's sake. Louisa discourages him as soon as his compliments start becoming improper,... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Later, Harthouse meets Tom, and genially tells him that he ought to be more grateful to his sister for... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 8
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...meet Louisa, Mrs. Sparsit, and Bitzer on the path. Harthouse and Louisa both instantly suspect Tom, though neither voices it. Mr. Bounderby, Mrs. Sparsit, and Bitzer suspect Stephen Blackpool, who was... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Then, long after everyone has gone to bed, Tom finally returns. He finds his sister awake and waiting for him, but upon pleas for... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 11
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...be away from home for three to four days on business. Mrs. Sparsit then invites Tom over to her place for lunch that day, and learns that Tom is to meet... (full context)
Femininity Theme Icon
That night, she spies on Tom at the train station, and seeing him waiting impatiently for Harthouse at the train station... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 12
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...rendered speechless by his eldest child's misery. Louisa reproaches him for never allowing her or Tom to exercise their fancy and imagination, which set them up for their current unhappiness. Mr.... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 4
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Louisa is at Stone Lodge with Sissy when Mr. Bounderby, Tom, and Rachael call on them. This is no courtesy call: Rachael has been trying to... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Mr. Bounderby is skeptical of all of their claims, and angrily storms off, with Tom following after him. Gradgrind expresses sadness that an innocent man would be falsely charged with... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 5
Femininity Theme Icon
...and triumphantly presents her to Bounderby (who happens to be meeting with Mr. Gradgrind and Tom), as one of the suspects connected with the robbery. Her actions draw a huge crowd... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Louisa and Sissy both suspect in their hearts that Tom was the bank robber. He has become Mr. Bounderby's shadow, and doesn't visit Louisa. Louisa... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 6
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
He then calls Louisa to his side, who has also come along with Tom, Gradgrind, and many others, and tells her to bring Mr. Gradgrind to him, which she... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 7
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Tom, however, has mysteriously disappeared. As Stephen gave his last instructions to Mr. Gradgrind, Sissy whispered... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...not eating or speaking to anyone, and emerges looking much older and having realized that Tom is the robber. Sissy then reveals that to save Tom from prison she told him... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Tom meets with his family after the night performance. He confesses to the crime and sheds... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Tom does agree to their plan for his escape by ship. However, just as he is... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 8
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...must agree with Bitzer, and that he will let Bitzer use his carriage to take Tom back to Coketown. Louisa and Gradgrind are dismayed, but Sissy recognizes that Sleary, in fact,... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 9
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...town. Louisa grows gentler and humbler and finds joy in helping care for Sissy's children. Tom dies far from home, having written of his repentance to his sister, but dying during... (full context)