Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Louisa Gradgrind Bounderby in "Hard Times" as Dickens's first strong woman who does not end tragically

In Charles Dickens's "Dombey and Son" (1848), Edith Skewton Granger marries wealthy businessman Paul Dombey for her mother's comfort and can only escape her loveless marriage by running away with Dombey's manager, Mr. Carker. In "Bleak House" (1852), Lady Dedlock maintains her social position by keeping her pregnancy from before her marriage secret, and when the secret threatens to be revealed, she runs away and ends up freezing to death. In "Hard Times" (1854), though, Louisa Gradgrind marries Josiah Bounderby at her father's suggestion but later leaves him and even leads her father to regret how he raised her. Finally, Dickens writes a strong-willed woman whose life does not end tragically. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 6 September 2022)

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