Hard Times

Discuss Dicken's potrayal of human relationships.

The relationships between Mr and Mrs Gradgrind, Mr Bounderby and Louisa, Louisa and Mr Harthouse, Mrs Sparsit and Bitzer, Mrs Sparsit and Mr Bounderby, Louisa and Tom, Jane and Sissy, Sissy and her father etc

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Mr and Mrs Gradgrind's relationship is severely lacking. They go about their business as husband and wife, but she fails to see the importance of her husband's interest in 'facts' and does an awful lot of complaining.

Bounderby marries Louisa for social status, and Louisa marries Bounderby because her father wishes it. She tries to be a good wife, he treats her like the 'trophy' he considers her to be (and little else), but their relationship is basically one of two strangers.

Mr. Harthouse is a cad. He sees Louisa in a loveless marriage and sets out to seduce her; her marriage at least is honest, Harthouse tries to woo her with dishonesty.

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Mrs. Gradgrind has one bright moment just before she dies. She suddenly realizes that Louisa and Tom are missing a key ingredient in becoming normal human beings.