Hard Times 3 Essay, Research Paper
Essay #6 – Character Analysis: Louisa In the novel Hard Times, Dickens presents a character by the name of Louisa Gradgrind Bounderby who had suffered from her father s education system. Mr.Gradgrind s philosophy forced Louisa to discard the word fancy altogether (11) causing her to base experiences on facts and not from emotions. Throughout the novel, Louisa realizes that she does not have any emotional experiences to guide her. This is apparent when she had been presented with a proposal for marriage, and on her journey to visit her ill mother. By Louisa being able to recognize the need for emotional experiences, Louisa is able to help her father see the wrong doing of his philosophy of facts. It becomes evident that Louisa had suffered from her fathers education system when Mr.Gradgrind had presented Louisa with Mr.Bounderby s proposal of marriage. Upon Louisa s response, Mr.Gradgrind had inquired whether or not she might have had another proposal which he was unaware of: You have never entertained in secret any other proposal (79). This led to Louisa revealing how her fathers school of facts had not permitted her to explore with her own emotions : Father…what other proposal can have been made to me? Whom have I seen? Where have I been? What are my hearts experiences (79). Louisa continues on explaining that he should have known better than to ask such a question, considering she has never been able to question or wonder past his school of facts : Why father…what a strange question to ask me….You have been so careful of me, that I never had a child s heart. You have trained me so well, that I never dreamed a child s dream. You have dealt so wisely with me, father, from my cradle to this hour, that I never had a child s belief or a child s fear. (79). This is significant because this is the first time which Louisa attempts to tell her father that she has no emotional experiences because her life has been based on his philosophy of facts. Unfortunately, her father misinterprets her message, and feels that her response is merle one of gratitude. Louisa left for home after she had heard her mother was ill. Along her journey home, Louisa realized that she had no childhood memories to make her homecoming a pleasant experience: As she approached her home now, did any of the best influences of old home descend upon her. The dreams of childhood – its airy fables; its graceful, beautiful humane, impossible adornments of the world beyond … – what had she to do with these? (149). Louisa keeps realizing that her fathers school of facts has left her with nothing in place of her childhood : Her remembrances of home and childhood were remembrances of the drying up of every spring and fountain in her young heart as it gushed out. The golden waters were not there. (148). This is significant because Louisa has now recognized that her father s philosophy of facts facts facts has left her with no emotional experiences which would have created childhood dreams. Louisa is now aware that if she were to live a life of happiness she must begin by living her life guided by her heart, and not by her fathers philosophy of facts. After feeling some emotions towards James Harthouse, Louisa confronts her father on how his corrupted school of facts has left her with no emotional experiences to guide her : I curse the hour in which I was born to such a destiny…How could you give me life, and take from me all the inappreciable things that raise it from the state of conscious death? Where are the graces of my soul? Where are the sentiments of my heart ? What have you don, O father, what have you done .. (161). As the scene progresses, Louisa tells her father that the cause of her unhappy marriage is because she had been forced into it: You proposed my husband to me. I took him. I never made a pretense to him or you that I loved him. I knew, and, father you knew, and he knew that I never did (162). This is significant because Mr.Gradgrind reacts like a loving father and attempts to comfort her. As Louisa s cries of unhappiness continue, she falls to the ground, Mr.Gradgrind begins to see his philosophy of facts tumble as he laid her down there, and saw the pride of his heart and the triumph of his system, lying , and insensibly heap, at his feet (163). Indeed Mr.Gradgrind now sees the pain which his philosophy of facts has caused, and begins to realize that emotions such as love and compassion do exist – credited to Louisa being able to recognize the need for emotional experiences.