Discuss the father and daughter relationships in Hard Times.

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Clearly the two relationships that this question refers to are the relationship between Louisa Gradgrind and her father, Mr. Gradgrind, and then the relationship between Sissy Jupe and her father, who never actually appears in the novel.

Louisa Gradgrind is brought up by an ineffectual mother and an overbearing father, who educates her using his utilitarian teaching philosophy with its emphasis on "facts" and nothing else. In our first meeting of Louisa, when she and Tom go to see the circus, it is interesting to see how he completely ignores any feelings or concerns that she has about her life. In response to her being "tired," her father replies:

"Say not another word," returned Mr. Gradgrind. "You are childish. I will hear no more."

His complete denial of her feelings and emotions, in spite of the "intense and searching" looks that his daughter gives him, produces the adult Louisa that is emotionally detached from life. A key chapter for you to look at is...

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