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"What I Want Is, Facts"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In Hard Times Charles Dickens attacks the materialism of the Victorian period. At the beginning of the book Thomas Gradgrind is explaining the system of his private school to the schoolmaster, Mr. M'Choakumchild; all that is required is facts. Later, Gradgrind explains that emotion, feelings, fancy are weaknesses that must be eradicated if the human being is to be adapted to his environment. The results of this system of schooling are shown in the development of four pupils: Gradgrind's son, Tom, a self-centered whelp who uses everyone around him for his own purposes and eventually turns out to be a thief; his daughter, Louisa, whose emotions have been so smothered that she allows herself to be forced into a loveless marriage that produces nothing but unhappiness; Bitzer, a creature who rises in the world by sneaking and spying to serve his own...

(The entire section is 293 words.)