Hard Times: Book 3 Chapter 1 - Summary & Analysis

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      When Louisa regains her consciousness she sees her little sister looking after her. After sometimes her father comes and tells her that he is sad and much pained after knowing her problems. He is now fully acknowledging his responsibility for the circumstances that have made her life miserable and wretched. Gradgrind also says that he does not know what advice he should give to her in the present situation. Throughout his life, he believed that head was greater than heart, and head is all sufficient but now he has to reconsider his ideas. He further says that he is badly condemning himself for her pains, though she has not made him feel it.

      After Gradgrind’s departure, Sissy gets into the room and asks her if she may look after her. Sissy’s affection and softness for Louisa has surpassed Louisa’s resistance. Her cold attitude toward Sissy vanishes away and she becomes soft and tender to Sissy. Louisa says to Sissy that she has been so stone-hearted, so contemptuous, proud and unjust to everybody and to herself also. She asks for Sissy’s forgiveness and all the sympathy and compassion that she can give to her. Sissy is moved to listen to Louisa and thus there has established a new relationship between them.

Critical Analysis

      Gradgrind, in this chapter, is transformed into a new man. He, who never has compromised with the implementation of his theory of education, is now made conscious to the blemishes of his principle. The disaster of Louisa’s married life has made Gradgrind’s eyes open to the flaws of his educational philosophy.

      Another important change takes place in Louisa’s attitude towards Sissy. The discord between them from the side of Louisa is overtaken by Sissy’s devotion to Gradgrind’s family. Louisa’a seeking for Sissy’s sympathy touches the reader’s heart deep to the core.

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