Analyse Louisa’s Marriage with Bounderby as an Example of Patriarchal and Utilitarian “Arrangement” in Victorian Society (Hard Times by Charles Dickens)
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A patriarchal society is the one in which the father is the head of the family. In such a social system, men have authority over women and children, and descent, kinship, and title are traced through the male line. The idea of utilitarianism suggests that human beings act in a way that highlights their own self-interest. It is based on pure factuality, leaves out on imagination. Dickens provides three vivid examples of this utilitarian logic in Hard Times through the characters of Mr. Thomas Gradgrind, Mr. Bounderby, and Mr. Gradgrind. Mr. Gradgrind educates his daughter, Louisa, with facts and facts alone. He raises her to disregard emotions and see everything in terms of statistics. He forces this type of education upon Louisa much…show more content… Bounderby allowing the process of her suppression to continue. Since Louisa is a dedicated sister, she marries Mr. Bounderby for Tom and expresses her regret for it.
John S. Mill refers to this deteriorating status of women in the Victorian era in his essays. According to him, husbands considered women to be their property and could even rape her. That is an idea which is absolutely unacceptable to Mill. Mill believes that man and woman are partners and a healthy relationship can be built up only when each treats the other with respect. A marriage creates an atmosphere where a woman becomes subservient to man and that is a position which is unacceptable to Mill. He says that women have been traditionally subjugated by men and therefore it appears a natural thing because it is a practise that has been going on for generations. He also mentions that education, culture and tradition were geared up to train women to believe that they are inferior to men and therefore, they should be submissive to their needs. Domination on women is taken for granted by the male. Whether superior or inferior to the woman, the man feels it’s his right to dominate women. Mill believes that women must be given their rights. Until and unless women are given equal putting in society, society will not progress. It is important that we discard traditional ideas regarding women and treat them equally for the overall well-being of the society.
In the novel, Louisa is