3/ Write a letter to Louisa Gradgrind trying to make her feel better for what has happened to her in her life.
Dear Louisa Gradgrind,
I pity you, on the difficulties you’ve faced in enduring a lack of imagination and humanity that has been a result of your father’s instilment of always sticking to the facts. It became apparent to me that your father had instilled this mentality onto you at a young age. As you had once at a young age been curious about the world around you, to only be told that you must ‘never wonder’ (Dickens, Hard Times, Book 1, Chapter 5). In consequence, to this instilment, your father’s teachings have rendered you, a broken cog, devoid of any childhood experience, unable to express yourself.
Signs of your emotional detachment to yourself is continued when you are unable to express yourself, instead factually describing your surroundings, “There seems to be nothing there but languid and monotonous smoke. Yet when the night comes, Fire bursts out.”, describe the emotions suppressed within you (Dickens, Book 1, Chapter 15). You resort to these factual descriptions because you are detached from the intense feeling beneath your cold monotonous exterior.
However, whilst you show an inability to understand your emotions, you have the grandeur to realise they exist and hold more significance, then your father could comprehend. I pity your frivolous temptation of a love affair, that ruins your marriage. However, I praise you for the sense of virtue in stopping your ruinous affair, saving your reputation. As you realise the temptations you have of an affair with John Harthouse, instead of acting dishonourably, you respond by fleeing to your father’s house. Furthermore, your confrontation with your father has made him aware of the inefficiencies of his teachings, instead, you ask him to prevent yourself from pursuing your unsettling emotional desires. The lines, “I do not know that I am sorry, I do not know that I am ashamed, I do not know that I am degraded in my own esteem. All that I know is, your philosophy and your teaching will not save me. Now, father, you have brought me to this. Save me by some other means! “ (Dickens, Book 2, Chapter 12).
You express your emotional dissonance with yourself unable to comprehend the shame or temptation you feel in having an affair. Whilst the circumstances are not favourable, you have demonstrated the ability to recognise good and right from wrong, even when it does not fall upon your father’s teachings, knowing to differentiate these emotions. Thus, your sense of virtue has prevented your life from being ruined by going to your father’s house, rather than eloping with Harthouse, saving your reputation and life from an irreparable state. I truly wish the best for you and hope that your virtue can help in allowing you to reconnect with your sense of self and repair the cog that prevents you from expressing your emotions.
With the best of regards, Dylan Versola
Dickens, Charles. Hard Times, Fourth Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2001.