Hard Times: Book 2 Chapter 12 - Summary & Analysis

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Summary

      Lousia arrives at ‘Stone Lodge’. She finds her father at home as Parliament is in recess. It is raining heavily when Lousia enters the home ‘Stone Lodge’ and her father wonders to see her. Without any, introduction, she tells him that she wants to confide in something. Gradgrind looks at her with apprehension. Louisa says that the way she has been brought up, has suppressed all the sentiments, feelings, affections and graces of her soul. She has to marry a man whom she never liked. In this abnormal state, she has spent her days miserably. Her heart and mind have always rebelled against the definitions and rules that were governing her life. She could have been a million times happier, contented and brilliant if she had grown freely without any imposed strict rules. She has agreed to marry Bounderby because she did not want to dishearten her father and because she wanted to be useful to her brother Tom who was working in Bounderby’s bank. She further says that she has not come to denounce and degrade her father but there is something that she wants to disclose. She met a man by chance and by and by he came very close to her. She felt some spiritual relation with that man because he understood her. Now he has become her lover and is eager to join her and run away with her. She does not understand herself what to do. She is confused, she does not know whether she is respecting herself or she is sorry. All that she is clear about, is her father’s principles of education have failed to serve her and this time she wishes her father to save her by some other means. After that she collapses.

Critical Analysis

      This chapter is remarkable for its important turn in the story. Like Mrs. Sparsit we also think that Louisa is going to meet her lover in order to flee with him. But unexpectedly she goes to her father’s residence ‘Stone Lodge’ and confides in him everything. Here Louisa’s intellect dominates her, she is not swayed by the impulses and passions.

      This chapter is most noteworthy for exposing the futility of Gradgrind’s philosophy of education. The crippling point of the theory of facts is exposed through the unfortunate marriage and chaotic life of Louisa. The method of showing the flaw of Gradgrind’s education, policy is most effective and appropriate.

      Louisa’s act of coming to her father raises her in reader’s eyes. She remains a woman of integrity ultimately. There is lot of pathos in the scene of Louisa’s confession of everything to her father. It is the culminating point of the novel and marks end of Book II.

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