Hard Times

Hard Times


Charles Dickens

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Hard Times: Book 1, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Tom and Louisa are at home, moodily discussing their unhappy existence and resenting their education of facts. Both say that the only consolation in their life comes from the company of the other, though Louisa shows her affection more openly. As for Tom, he expresses his discontent with life, and reveals that he sometimes manipulates Mr. Bounderby when Bounderby says something to him he doesn't like by commenting that Louisa wouldn't like whatever it was Bounderby had suggested. Louisa is curiously expressionless.
Here is a testament of how unhappy an education of facts makes children. Here also, is another hint at the possible marriage of Louisa and Mr. Bounderby, young though she is. This chapter also captures the relationship between Louisa and Tom: she clearly loves Tom, as her open affection shows. But he seems more interesting in using Louisa to get what he wants. Louisa's expressionless reaction to the mention of Bounderby forebodes the nature of her future relationship to him, in which she passively allows herself, despite a lack of love or even like, to be married to him.
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