by Charles Dickens
Thomas Gradgrind Timeline and Summary
- Marries Mrs. Gradgrind because she "had no nonsense about her."
- He has children whom he decides to educate with facts and whose imagination and emotional development he hopes to repress and replace with logic.
- Founds a school to teach with this same philosophy.
- After Sleary's circus comes to town, Gradgrind catches his daughter Louisa and son Tom sneaking a peek at the circus.
- At the same time, he discovers that one of his school's students, Sissy Jupe, is the daughter of a circus clown, who has abandoned her.
- Gradgrind offers Sissy a place in his house as a sort of companion servant and a place at the school.
- A few years later, noticing that Louisa has grown up, he advises her to accept Bounderby's marriage proposal.
- A year after the wedding, Gradgrind has become a Member of Parliament.
- He meets James Harthouse, an aspiring politician.
- Gradgrind introduces Harthouse to Bounderby and Louisa.
- His wife dies, and he buries her without much feeling.
- One night while he is working, his daughter Louisa comes in half-crazy, confronts him about the awful way he raised her, tells him about her near-affair, and then collapses.
- He offers her his house as a place to stay apart from Bounderby. The arrangement becomes permanent when Bounderby rejects the marriage.
- After Stephen is found inside the hole, Gradgrind realizes that Tom is a thief, and that his own life and philosophy are failures.
- Gradgrind goes to Sleary's circus to help Tom escape overseas, and there he is shocked to find that his model student Bitzer is now completely selfish and cold.
- Gradgrind reforms his ideas, and lives to old age.