Hard Times

Hard Times

Louisa, Mr. Gradgrind's eldest daughter, could be said to be the protagonist of the book. From a young age she resents the education of facts, which she finds thoroughly unenjoyable and which represses her imagination and emotions, deforming her heart. Led by her education, she marries a man she doesn't love, and then nearly runs away with another man, James Harthouse, who finally makes her feel as if she is understood. With the help of her gentle friend, Sissy, her heart and her humanity are gradually resuscitated.

Louisa Gradgrind Quotes in Hard Times

The Hard Times quotes below are all either spoken by Louisa Gradgrind or refer to Louisa Gradgrind. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Hard Times published in 2001.
Book 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

There was an air of jaded sullenness in them both, and particularly in the girl: yet, struggling through the dissatisfaction of her face, there was a light with nothing to rest upon, a fire with nothing to burn, a starved imagination keeping life in itself somehow, which brightened its expression.

Related Characters: Louisa Gradgrind, Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom)
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 1, Chapter 7 Quotes

‘You are quite another father to Louisa, sir.' Mrs Sparsit took a little more tea; and, as she bent her again contracted eyebrows over her steaming cup, rather looked as if her classical countenance were invoking the infernal gods.

Related Characters: Mrs. Sparsit (speaker), Louisa Gradgrind, Josiah Bounderby
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book 1, Chapter 14 Quotes

‘Well, sister of mine,' said Tom, ‘when you say that, you are near my thoughts. We might be so much oftener together — mightn't we? Always together, almost — mightn't we? It would do me a great deal of good if you were to make up your mind to I know what, Loo. It would be a splendid thing for me. It would be uncommonly jolly!'

Related Characters: Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom) (speaker), Louisa Gradgrind
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book 1, Chapter 15 Quotes

‘Father,' said Louisa, ‘do you think I love Mr Bounderby?'

Mr. Gradgrind was extremely discomfited by this unexpected question. ‘Well, my child,' he returned, ‘I — really — cannot take upon myself to say.'

Related Characters: Thomas Gradgrind (speaker), Louisa Gradgrind (speaker), Josiah Bounderby
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

‘Oh,' returned Tom, with contemptuous patronage, ‘she's a regular girl. A girl can get on anywhere. She has settled down to the life, and she don't mind. It does just as well as another. Besides, though Loo is a girl, she's not a common sort of girl. She can shut herself up within herself, and think — as I have often known her sit and watch the fire — for an hour at a stretch.'

Related Characters: Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom) (speaker), Louisa Gradgrind, James Harthouse
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident,

Book 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

‘Your brother. My young friend Tom — '

Her colour brightened, and she turned to him with a look of interest. ‘I never in my life,' he thought, ‘saw anything so remarkable and so captivating as the lighting of those features!'

Related Characters: James Harthouse (speaker), Louisa Gradgrind, Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom)
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book 2, Chapter 9 Quotes

But from this day, the Sparsit action upon Mr Bounderby threw Louisa and James Harthouse more together, and strengthened the dangerous alienation from her husband and confidence against him with another, into which she had fallen by degrees so fine that she could not retrace them if she tried.

Related Characters: Louisa Gradgrind, Josiah Bounderby, Mrs. Sparsit, James Harthouse
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehen

Book 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

‘This night, my husband being away, he has been with me, declaring himself my lover. This minute he expects me, for I could release myself of his presence by no other means. I do not know that I am sorry, I do not know that I am ashamed, I do not know that I am degraded in my own esteem. All that I know is, your philosophy and your teaching will not save me. Now, father, you have brought me to this. Save me by some other means!'

Related Characters: Louisa Gradgrind (speaker), Thomas Gradgrind, Louisa Gradgrind, James Harthouse
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Book 3, Chapter 1 Quotes

In the innocence of her brave affection, and the brimming up of her old devoted spirit, the once deserted girl shone like a beautiful light upon the darkness of the other.

Related Characters: Louisa Gradgrind, Cecilia (Sissy) Jupe
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis

Book 3, Chapter 9 Quotes

A lonely brother, many thousands of miles away, writing, on paper blotted with tears, that her words had too soon come true, and that all the treasures in the world would be cheaply bartered for a sight of her dear face? At length this brother coming nearer home, with hope of seeing her, and being delayed by illness; and then a letter, in a strange hand, saying ‘he died in hospital, of fever, such a day, and died in penitence and love of you: his last word being your name'? Did Louisa see these things? Such things were to be.

Related Characters: Louisa Gradgrind, Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom)
Page Number: 223
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehende

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Louisa Gradgrind Character Timeline in Hard Times

The timeline below shows where the character Louisa Gradgrind appears in Hard Times. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 3
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...and at school. But he cannot believe his eyes when he sees his two children, Louisa Gradgrind and Tom Gradgrind, peeping into a circus tent. This circus, by the way, features... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...facts and not on imagination and fun, he angrily pulls them away from the circus. Louisa, who is sixteen and a good deal older than Tom, speaks clearly in defense of... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 4
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
...manufacturer. He is a close family friend, and takes an interest in the children, particularly Louisa. (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Mr. Gradgrind returns with Louisa and Thomas, having dragged them from the circus, and indignantly exposes the misbehavior of his... (full context)
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
...for Coketown to confront the Jupes. As they leave, Mr. Bounderby plants a kiss on Louisa's cheek, who is disgusted by this show of affection from him. (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 7
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...and elderly widow named Mrs. Sparsit. As the two breakfast, Bounderby expresses his disapproval of Louisa associating with the likes of Sissy. Mrs. Sparsit, though she out loud agrees with Bounderby's... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Mr. Gradgrind, Louisa, and Sissy enter the room. Upon questioning, Sissy lets slip that she and her father... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 8
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Tom and Louisa are at home, moodily discussing their unhappy existence and resenting their education of facts. Both... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 9
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...education of facts, Sissy hasn't made much "progress." One night she falls into conversation with Louisa, and bemoans how she can never answer Mr. McChoakumchild's questions the way he wants her... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...who read her many wonderful fairy tales and made her very happy. She also tells Louisa how desperate her father was in his misery when he couldn't please the crowds, and... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 14
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Louisa and Sissy have grown into young women, and Tom is now a young man, apprenticed... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Louisa, as melancholic and reserved as ever, seems to be the subject of both her father... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 15
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Mr. Gradgrind summons Louisa to his room, and informs her that Mr. Bounderby has asked for her hand in... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 16
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
The day of the wedding comes, and Louisa and Mr. Bounderby are married. Tom thinks only of all the advantages he will gain... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 1
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...and his flattery, and upon questioning, disdainfully reveals that contrary to this young man's beliefs, Louisa Bounderby is not a grim old hag, but a young woman. Upon the young man's... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 2
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
...and Harthouse properly flatters and pleases Bounderby, Bounderby takes Harthouse home to be introduced to Louisa. (full context)
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Jem Harthouse finally snaps out of his boredom when he meets handsome, proud, cold Louisa. He senses that there is much more to this fascinating woman than meets the eye... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
His efforts are finally rewarded when Tom comes home, and Louisa's impassive face breaks into a warm, beautiful smile. Harthouse inwardly takes note of this; apparently... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
...and a cigar, converses with him as a guise to extract information from him about Louisa. He learns that Louisa married Bounderby not out of love but for Tom's sake, to... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 5
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Stephen joins Mr. Bounderby, Louisa, Tom, and Mr. Harthouse in the Bounderbys' drawing room. Bounderby demands that Stephen reveal details... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 6
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...had a son who she lost, when suddenly there is a knock at the door. Louisa and Tom Gradgrind enter. From the look on his face, it is clear that Tom... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
...find work elsewhere. Stephen is confused, but says he will. Tom seems nervous and jumpy. Louisa and Tom then take their leave of Stephen, and Rachael does likewise. (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 7
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
...other "Hard Fact" fellows with his easy flattery, and begins to make headway in gaining Louisa's favor without her even realizing it. He "accidentally" comes across her while she is walking... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...if only he'll act more affectionately toward his sister. Tom agrees. As Tom's behavior improves, Louisa smiles upon Mr. Harthouse, thinking gratefully of him as her brother's benefactor. (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 8
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
The narrator reveals Mr. Harthouse's inner thoughts about this step in his relationship with Louisa; he isn't deliberately planning a wicked seduction, but he's bored by everything in his life... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...if it had been all of his holdings. As they talk, the two men meet Louisa, Mrs. Sparsit, and Bitzer on the path. Harthouse and Louisa both instantly suspect Tom, though... (full context)
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...that her nerves have been shocked by this event, and moves temporarily back in with Louisa and Mr. Bounderby. She also takes to calling Louisa "Miss Gradgrind" instead of "Mrs. Bounderby".... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...in her, he sulkily and resentfully maintains that he's not hiding anything. He hints that Louisa should mention neither the visit they paid Stephen, Rachael, and the old woman, nor the... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 9
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...pitiable state of being robbed of 150 pounds that he notices, in contrast, how cold Louisa is to him (which is no change from her previous behavior). Mrs. Sparsit does whatever... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Shortly after Mr. Bounderby leaves for work, Bitzer brings Louisa a note telling her that her mother is dying. Louisa immediately departs for her old... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
As Mrs. Gradgrind lies dying, she feebly attempts to tell Louisa that she has realized that she and Mr. Gradgrind forgot something in the education of... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 10
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...present, and excessive contempt to his portrait when he is gone. Watching the progression of Louisa and James Harthouse's relationship, Mrs. Sparsit rather evilly gets it into her mind that Louisa... (full context)
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...Mrs. Sparsit spies on through a window but can't overhear, Mr. Harthouse manages to persuade Louisa that Stephen, whom she thought to be a just man, may very well have succumbed... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 11
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...to meet Mr. Harthouse at the train station that night. She asks him to tell Louisa that she will not pay her usual visit to the Bounderbys that night, as she... (full context)
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Almost breathless with delight at the thought that this might be the night of Louisa's ruin, she creeps through the woods around the Bounderby house. Sure enough, she is rewarded... (full context)
Femininity Theme Icon
Mr. Harthouse leaves, and Louisa goes back to the house, only to set out again after a short time for... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 12
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Mrs. Sparsit was wrong: Louisa has not gone to Coketown to meet Mr. Harthouse, but rather to Stone Lodge to... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Louisa then reveals to him that Mr. Harthouse has declared his love for her, and she... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 1
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Louisa awakes to find herself in her old bed in her old room, feeling very weak.... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Mr. Gradgrind leaves her to rest, and Sissy comes in. Louisa immediately is filled with anger and resentment at the presence of this good and gentle... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 2
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
James Harthouse doesn't know what to think of Louisa's failure to appear at their rendezvous in Coketown. He waits in Coketown for a while,... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 3
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
After losing track of Louisa the night before, Mrs. Sparsit, filthy wet clothes and all, rushes to London, finds Mr.... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
...that her education based solely on facts was responsible and that "there are qualities in Louisa which—which have been harshly neglected", and Louisa needs time to rest and recover, and that... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
When Louisa does not appear at Bounderby's by noon the next day, Mr. Bounderby has his servants... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 4
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Louisa is at Stone Lodge with Sissy when Mr. Bounderby, Tom, and Rachael call on them.... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
...expresses sadness that an innocent man would be falsely charged with a crime, which causes Louisa and Sissy to share a glance: each of them believes Tom is actually the robber.... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 5
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Louisa and Sissy both suspect in their hearts that Tom was the bank robber. He has... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 6
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
He then calls Louisa to his side, who has also come along with Tom, Gradgrind, and many others, and... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 7
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...placed in positions of trust at least some of them will be dishonest. Then when Louisa tries to hug him, he spitefully blames her for the trouble he's in now—for leaving... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 8
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...and that he will let Bitzer use his carriage to take Tom back to Coketown. Louisa and Gradgrind are dismayed, but Sissy recognizes that Sleary, in fact, has a plan to... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 9
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...in the factory, taking care of Stephen's drunken wife when she comes back to town. Louisa grows gentler and humbler and finds joy in helping care for Sissy's children. Tom dies... (full context)