Otherness describes a person engaging in the reflexive act of defining their identity in reference to another person. In this way, Otherness is a definitive means of exploring the relationships between social castes and gender relationships. In Hard Times, these two types of Otherness social and gender relations not only exist, but appear in a hybridized and utterly complex way character of Charles Dickens' work.
Keywords: Tamise Van Pelt, Gradgrind, Louisa
[...] In stating Sissy has knowledge of herself, it is shown that despite Sissy's downfalls, she is unlike Louisa in the fact that she does not ignore her the emotive imperatives of her personality; she does not simply dismiss matters concerning subjectivity and emotional responses, as well as her involvement with activities that would be called fundamentally useless by Gradgrind. This is shown as Sissy meets Gradgrind, when he discovers that she is completely immersed in the fanciful; when Gradgrind asks Sissy what she has read to her father, she says that she has read “About fairies, [ ] the Dwarf, and the Hunchback, and the Genies.” (Dickens 41) Gradgrind's strong reaction to this, calling this reading list “destructive nonsense” (Dickens 41) shows that, though Gradgrind understands that Sissy's upbringing in the circus the circus exemplifying destructive nonsense - will cause difficulty in her education, he does not recognize the relationship that Sissy will have with Louisa. [...]
[...] However, Louisa does not realize the importance of both fancy and fact before Gradgrind convinces her to marry Bounderby. Bounderby is characterized by his total immersion in the ideology of reason, and he chooses Louisa as his wife based solely on the logic of the Victorian model of marriage; Louisa is young and beautiful, and thus would compliment Bounderby's other signifiers of wealth. Though Bounderby emphasizes his hard work as being most important, his marriage to Louisa undermines any pretense in attempting to appear humble. [...]
[...] Dickens' most emphasized theme in Hard Times is the relationship between fact and fancy, and it is strongly exemplified through Louisa, Blackpool, and their respective Others. Louisa becomes Bounderby's wife, and thus Bounderby's Other. As stated previously, their marriage is steeped completely in reason without love, and so it fails. Consequently, the relationship of Blackpool and Rachel is marked by a “cultivation of sentiments” (Dickens 41) in both Blackpool and Rachel that can be categorized under fancy, not reason, and so their relationship fails also. [...]
[...] Indeed, Otherness does not exist without this sociological component, and it is necessary to make reference to Van Pelt's interpretation of Jacques Lacan's discourse on Otherness to differentiate the causal and the effectual relations between Louisa Gradgrind and Josiah Bounderby, and Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Blackpool. The environment that produces Louisa is shown to be one of calculated reason early in the text; Mr. Gradgrind states that can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them.” (Dickens The principles of reason permeate throughout the Gradgrind household, to where any reference made to the ideological pursuits of activities that Gradgrind views as superfluous, are banned. [...]
[...] Gradgrind's awakening is not unlike that of Louisa, where she discovers that her mistake in marrying Bounderby is concerning of the balance that must be maintained between fact and fancy, only Gradgrind discovers fancy instead of fact. Gradgrind states, have proved my my system to myself, and I have rigidly administered it; and I must bear the responsibility of its failures.” (Dickens 167) Gradgrind's awakening begins as Louisa's marriage ends, where he sees and is fully able to acknowledge the shortcomings of his focus on fact alone. [...]
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