Hard Times

How does Mr. Gradgrind’s character change during this book? Why do you think he ultimately changes so much? How can you explain the fact that he has not changed until now?

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Mr. Gragrind is a man set in his ways, or at least he thinks that he has things all figured out. He is a man that justifies self-interests as a perfectly rational way to leave. He feels she can compartmentalize human nature and "weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you what it comes to." Consequently Mr. Gragrind has achieved great financial success. When he becomes a member of parliament, he becomes almost obsessed with data and statistics about people: to him, people become both commodities and data. Grandrind does change significantly in the book. Louisa confesses her unhappiness in life and in marriage. Gradrind begins to see that his education system omitted the human elements. When he learns that Tom has allegedly robbed Bounderby’s bank he confesses, “The ground on which I stand has ceased to be solid under my feet.” Grandrind must look at his own children and others as human and must feel emotional pathos and pain.