Last Updated January 12, 2023.
Louisa has traveled straight to her old home, to her father who is there on vacation. He is shocked to see her, wet and cold and despairing. Louisa confronts Mr. Gradgrind, cursing the hour she was born into the destiny that has become hers. She has been living in a “state of conscious death” with no graces of soul or sentiments of heart. The garden that she should have been is a wilderness. Her life is a void.
There are important things that her father has never nurtured in her or in himself, and Louisa feels the want of them now. There are things that defy calculation that her father should have recognized and honored. If he had, perhaps she would not be standing here. She has been robbed of something that would have made her a better human being, yet she has long hungered and thirsted for whatever that is. If she had it, she would have been “wiser, happier, more loving, more contented, more innocent and human in all good respects.”
Mr. Gradgrind is cut to the heart and filled with pity for his daughter. Louisa continues, speaking of her marriage and of Tom. Then she tells her father about Mr. Harthouse and what has happened. She is not disgraced, but she is in desperate need of help. The philosophy and education her father has imposed upon her are no assistance at all. They will not save her. In fact, they have brought her to this point. Now her father must save her in another way. Louisa then falls to the floor insensible.