Dickenson’s Hard Times
As I analyze the first character that was presented in the book Hard times by Charles Dickens, Thomas Gradgrind is one of the central figures through whom the author weaves a web of intricately connected characters and plotlines. His character is used with most central feature of his monotone attitude and appearance that is mechanized. Mr.
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Gradrinds opening speech to a group of young students during the opening scene embodies his dryness and the hard fact that he crams into his student’s heads.
Gradrind is best described as “square coat, square legs, square shoulders,” (Dickens, 1981) by the narrator which merely suggest Gradrind’s unrelenting rigidity. During the first few chapters, he expounds his philosophy of calculating his rational self interest. Human nature can be governed by complete rational rules according to his belief. He is also ready to weight and measure any parcel of human nature and be able to tell what it comes to. By this philosophy he was able to triumph financially and socially. His fortune as a hardware merchant which is a trade that deals in hard material reality.
He also became a member of the Parliament and this position allows him to indulge his interest tabulating data about people from England. Though he is not a factory owner, he evinces the spirit of Industrial revolution as he treats people like machines that can be reduced to a number of principles of science. The narrator describes Gradrind ironically but he also undergo significant change in the novel which later catches the narrator’s sympathy. This is when Louisa confessed to him that something really important is missing in her life and that she is unhappy and disappointed with her marriage.
This gave a realization to Gradrind that the education system that he has is not perfect. This is proven when he learned that Tom robbed the bank of Bounderby. and since he was faced by these failures, he admits to himself that “The ground on which I stand has ceased to be solid under my feet. ” (Dickens, 1981)The dilemmas of his children made him feel and learn love, compassion and sorrow. He later became a humble man and making his facts and figures in greater connection with the virtues of faith, hope and charity.