Charles Dickens ' Hard Times

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In Hard Times, Dickens presents life philosophies of three men that directly contradict each other. James Harthouse sees one’s actions in life as meaningless since life is so short. Mr. Gradgrind emphasizes the importance of fact and discourages fantasy since life is exactly as it was designed to be. Mr. Slearly exhibits that “all work and no play” will make very dull people out of all of us. He also proclaims that one should never look back on one’s life and regret past actions. Dickens is certainly advocating Sleary’s life philosophy because the subjects of the other two philosophies led depressing and unhappy lives. This is made clear when Louisa realises her childhood of fact without fancy has ruined her, when Tom’s life falls apart after leaving his father’s home in rejection of his strict parenting, and when Mr. Gradgrind himself realises the faults in his own philosophy and devotes the rest of his life to virtue and charity. Louisa breaks down at her father’s knees at the end of book two. All work and no play has made her a dull girl indeed! Mr. Gradgrind has no idea how to respond to this. “What can I do child? Ask me what you will.” [220]. Louisa’s philosophy, which bears a striking resemblance to that of James Harthouse, has led her to get married to a man she does not love. She essentially blames her strife upon her father’s upbringing of her. “All that I know is, your philosophy and your teaching will not save me. Now, Father, you have brought me to this. Save me
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