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What are the de-humanising effects of the doctrine of fact from page 131-133 in 'Hard Times'?

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Introduction

What are the de-humanising effects of the doctrine of fact from page 131-133 in 'Hard Times'? Mr Gradgrind says ' is it satisfactory to me... to know that you do not come to the consideration of that question with the previous habits of mind, and habits of life, that belongs to many young women' in reference to fancy and emotion when deciding whether to marry Mr Bounderby or not. Later on in the page we are told that Louisa was ' compelled to throw herself upon his breast and give him the pent-up confidences of her heart'. However this doesn't happen because Mr Gradgrind fails to see it. This is because of the 'artificial barriers' that have been set up between him and his daughter and these barriers are primarily fact and his utilitarian views. It is a utilitarian view because he believes the decision should not be made based on the individual happiness of Louisa but on what will be best for everyone and therefore looking past her. ...read more.

Middle

blow even algebra to wreck' saying to us that fancy and emotion will always beat fact. The 'last trumpet' is judgement day so Dickens is saying that fancy will win until the end of eternity. This passage clearly shows Dickens preferences to emotion and how he feels it is superior although he does give fact some credit when he says 'blow even algebra' as if algebra is a tough subject to blow. Then dickens talks about how 'with his... utilitarian... face he hardened her again' telling us that utilitarianism is hardening Loo. First of all this builds sympathy for Loo because we were told earlier that Loo wanted to throw herself upon her father but she cant because of the barriers and is hardened again and secondly builds up our dislike for Gradgrind and utilitarianism more because of its hardening qualities. The moment in which Loo would have jumped on her dad is 'shot away into the plumbless depths of the past... ...read more.

Conclusion

her life is controlled by what happens to others, this is utilitarian because it is talking about the people and not the individual and there is criticism here in the fact that Gradgrind can't properly answer Loo's question about how short life is using his utilitarian principles. Dickens is saying that utilitarianism doesn't hold the answers to the important questions individuals pose. This is de-humanisation in the sense that people aren't dealt with individually but as a part of the whole, there is no individualism and as a result no individuality. Furthermore Gradgrind can't answer, or even understand Louisa's question 'what does it matter?' showing even furthermore the limitations of the principles and the de-humanisation of this father- daughter relationship in the sense that even when she tries to reach out to him he does not understand or register it. Finally she accepts Bounderby's proposal in the final act of de-humanisation in the sense that she doesn't look at her own feelings to make this decision but merely makes the decision then and there with no sense of emotion in her at all, but just says, 'let it be so' Jonathan Povey ...read more.

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