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He was a firm believer in utilitarianism and instilled this philosophy into the students at the school from a very young age, as well as his own children. Josiah Bounderby was also a practitioner of utilitarianism, but was more interested in the profit that stemmed from it. Thomas Gradgrind Sr., a father of five children, has lived his life by the book and never strayed from his philosophy that life is nothing more than facts and statistics.At the other end of the perspective, a group of circus members, who are the total opposite of utilitarians, are added by Dickens to provide a sharp contrast from the ideas of Mr. He has successfully incorporated this belief into the school system of Coketown, and has tried his best to do so with his own children.
It is based on factuality and leaves little room for imagination.
Dickens provides three vivid examples of this utilitarian logic in Hard Times. Thomas Gradgrind, one of the main characters in the book, was the principal of a school in Coketown.
Gradgrinds two oldest children, Tom and Louisa, are examples of how this utilitarian method failed miserably.
These children were never given the opportunity to think for themselves, experience fun things in life, or even use their imaginations.
I think this is extremely funny how, at a time of need, Gradgrind’s educational theory has backfired in his face.
I think Dickens put this irony in as a comical device but also to show how ineffective the utilitarian method of teaching is.Gradgrind begs him to let Tom go, reminding him of all of the hard work that was put on him while at the school.Ironically Bitzer, using the tools of factuality that he had learned in Gradgrinds school, replies that the school was paid for, but it is now over and he owes nothing more.One has to wonder how different the story would be if Gradgrind did not run the school.How can you give a utilitarian man such as Gradgrind such power over a town?The ire in Dickens’ quill was often aimed at eviscerating the foibles of 19th century social injustices and Hard Times is no exception, tackling issues of the day such as the moral chasm between the rich and poor and the plight of factory workers in the age industrialisation.Even the education system didn’t pass muster when it met Dickens’ jaundiced eye, seemingly attacked for its cold, rational and callous regard for young children’s minds.True, they are smart people in the factual sense but do not have the street smarts to survive.Tom is a young man who, so fed up with his father’s strictness and repetition, revolts against him and leaves home to work in Mr. Tom, now out from under his fathers wing, he begins to drink and gamble heavily.Louisa accepts Josiah in order to be in a position to help her brother Tom, who becomes under the influence of his upbringing, unsympathetic, corrupt, and cruelly reckoning.Louisa is nearly seduced by visiting politician James Harthouse, who is cynically concerned only to find amusement in a place with no other charms.