Read the passage that begins "Yes, Miss Louisa—they always remind me of stutterings" and ends "'Merrylegs;' she whispered the awful fact; 'is his performing dog'" (book 1, chapter 9). How does...

Read the passage that begins "Yes, Miss Louisa—they always remind me of stutterings" and ends "'Merrylegs;' she whispered the awful fact; 'is his performing dog'" (book 1, chapter 9). How does Dickens make the extract a moving one?

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Dickens makes this passage a moving one by focusing on Sissy Jupe as an emotional being. In the Gradgrind world of utilitarianism and rationality that she has entered, Sissy thinks primarily with her heart and her imagination, and though the school has already taught her that this is very, very wrong, she fails at aligning herself with its way of thinking. By the time we are done with this passage, we, as readers with hearts, are on her side.

In this passage, she is speaking with Louisa about the problems in school that make her "low spirited." She has already revealed her empathy with the starving, and now she tells Lousia that she gave the wrong answer when she was asked at school to provide the percentage if "only" five hundred people of a hundred thousand died at sea. She replies with the answer, "nothing." She is thinking with her heart, not her head, because by "nothing" she means that cold percentages mean nothing at all to the heart-broken relatives of the people who were...

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