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Two primary relationships are explored in "Hard Times"--the father-daughter relationship and the husband-wife relationship. Two contrasting father-daughter relationships in the novel are between Mr. Gradgrind and his daughter Louisa and between Signor Jupe and his daughter Sissy. While Mr. Gradgrind is a committed and present father, he smothers Louisa with inflexible rules and theories that do not allow her to develop an identity of her own. As a result, she enters into an unfortunate marriage with Mr. Bounderby, which ends in disaster. Signor Jupe, on the other hand, is a circus clown who seems to be a negligent father because he deserts Sissy. Prior to his desertion, however, they have a close, intimate father-daughter bond which allows Sissy to develop her own imagination and to form trusting relationships. We learn at the end of the novel that Sissy becomes a loving mother of happy children, while Louisa remains childless.
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