In Hard Times
(1854), Louisa Gradgrind’s is crushed from the beginning, flattened under the relentless regime of her father’s curriculum of facts. There were no nursery rhymes or childish jingles in her background; she never hears of the “Famous cow who swallowed Tom Thumb, and has only been introduced to a cow as a gramnivorous ruminating quadruped with several stomachs” (8–9).
Her father’s method, however, not only extinguishes Louisa’s imagination but her capacity to love as well. Even her father’s later recognition of what he has done, and Louisa’s rekindled affections for Sissy Jupe cannot change the influence of her background, and in Dickens’s projection of their futures, Sissy is shown happily married with many children while Louisa will never see “Herself again a wife–a mother—lovingly watchful of her children…” (273–74).