What is the cause of Louisa's depression and apathy?Louisa in Hard Times by Charles Dickens

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Louisa, the main character of Hard Times by Charles Dickens, cannot be blamed directly for her seemingly- endless depression and tendency for apathy in the story.

The fact is that Louisa has never had the opportunity to learn how to channel, display, accept, nor understand her emotions. She is not a woman who can boast to come from a loving home, nor from a healthy upbringing where her emotional needs are consistently met.

Instead, she is educated in a cold and matter-of-fact environment which molded and programmed her to see life under her own scope, rather than help her develop into a good, virtuous, and nurturing Victorian woman.

Eventually in the story we know that there is a chance for Louisa, and that she needs more exposure to other female models for her to establish a better pattern of behavior. Nevertheless, it must be nerve-wracking to know that there is a myriad of emotions that can help her feel better and happier, yet she is not able to experience it.