Study Guide

Hard Times Book 1, Chapter 15

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Book 1, Chapter 15

Father and Daughter

  • Louisa comes to talk to her father like he had asked.
  • He tells her that Bounderby has proposed marriage to her. She stares at her father without emotion, making him really nervous. Then she asks a totally devastating series of questions: one, "Father, do you think I love Mr. Bounderby?" – two, "Father, do you ask me to love Mr. Bounderby?" – and three, "does Mr. Bounderby ask me to love him?"
  • Gradgrind is pretty floored by this, but can't quite drop his robotic-I-only-understand-logic M.O. He tells Louisa that love is not really the point, and that the point instead is figuring out what the statistics are for marriages between people of unequal ages in the various parts of the British Empire. If these statistics are favorable, then obviously her marriage will work out just fine.
  • Louisa comes close to finally giving him "the pent-up confidences of her heart," but he is too far gone into reason to see it. Instead, he just double-checks that she is not into anyone else She makes a super-sarcastic reply, saying that the likes of her would never have gotten any other marriage proposals. Her father misses the point and takes this as proof of how awesome his parenting has been.
  • Finally, totally blank-faced and unemotional, Louisa agrees to marry Bounderby.
  • Gradgrind tells Mrs. Gradgrind the happy news, and Louisa catches Sissy looking at her with a sad face.

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