“Now what I want is facts…Facts alone are what is wanted in life.”
In what ways does Hard Times argue against Gradgrind’s point of view?
In the novel “Hard Times” Dickens explores Gradgrind’s philosophy of education, as the school’s founder is unimaginable to an extent where it is so much of a necessity of teaching a curriculum based solely upon fact. Gradgrind’s “matter of fact home” is where his upbringing of his five children, especially young Tom and Louisa is most significant, and their dehumanised lifestyle is profoundly rationalist. Sissy Jupe is a compassionate and loyal character who, from the beginning of the book is identified with the humanitarian outlook which would have Gradgrind’s education system exclude her. Sissy is often linked to the world of fancy and imagination. Gradgrind would nevertheless acknowledge Sissy’s influence as corrective within his household, as it is her who persuades you to argue about Gradgrind’s “facts alone” point of view.
Louisa and Tom Gradgrind live a dehumanised lifestyle of which they have been brought up by their father Thomas Gradgrind. Dickens explores through many characters that Gradgrind’s point of view is irrational and abnormal. Mr. Gradgrind expounds his philosophy of calculating, rational self-interest. He believes that human nature can be governed by completely rational rules, and he is “ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you what it comes to.” Louisa's education has prevented her from developing such aspects of being a young lady and imagining. Instead, Louisa is silent, cold, and seemingly unfeeling. However, Dickens may not be implying that Louisa is really unfeeling, but rather that she simply does not know how to recognize and express her emotions. When Louisa confesses that she feels something important is missing in her life and that she is desperately unhappy with her marriage, Gradgrind begins to realise that his system of education and his ‘”facts alone” point...