What is Dickens' message about love, as shown through the characters fates at the end of the novel and Dickens' direct address to the reader?
I tend to think that Dickens' message about love is that the ability to love and to feel love is an essential part of human identity. For individuals to strive to a realm in which this is not evident is an exercise in futility. Through his characterizations and his direct message, Dickens seems to be suggesting that human beings are emotional creatures. They are organisms that need love and need to understand its presence in their lives. Certainly, Thomas recognizes this in his own failings as both teacher and father. Louisa indicts him as much and Tom's own moral shortcomings demonstrate this. Dickens seems to use Thomas as the embodiment and failure of a life that cannot understand the full implications of the emotional element in one's being. The message here is to embrace the lack of a quantifiable element that is within love. Through this, one can find the redemption and sense of belonging that a life dedicated solely to Rationalism lacks. For Dickens, it is this notion of love and the ability to love that defines one's own being in the world. It is the only element where some semblance of coherence can be found in a world where Rationalism points to greater fragmentation.