Here is the answer and explanation to the question What happens to Louisa in Hard Times?
What happens to Louisa in Hard Times?
In Hard Times, Louisa sadly ends up the product of her education in hard-headed utilitarianism. She makes a disastrous marriage for money, leaves her husband, and ends up living in her father’s household, unable to truly experience wonder or joy.
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Louisa ends up a good student of the hard-headed, money-oriented utilitarian education that her father provides for her. She marries Josiah Bounderby, another hardheaded individual, for his money and influence, despite his being thirty years her senior. She is not in love with him, but as she has been taught all her life to put aside all feelings as sentimental and impractical, this does not, at first, matter to her.
Louisa ends up unhappy in her loveless marriage and becomes easy prey for Harthouse, who convinces her to run off with him. In the end, however, she lacks the courage to do so and returns to her father’s house. Gradgrind is shocked and saddened at the results of his upbringing and repents of how he has raised Louisa.
When Mrs. Sparsit reveals to Bounderby Louisa’s intended elopement, he is angry and sends Louisa an ultimatum that she must return to him by a certain time. Louisa cannot bear to do so, and so she remains at her father’s house.
Louisa is depicted by Dickens as a victim of a misguided education and a false set of values that puts money and pragmatism ahead of love, compassion, creativity, and wonder. Despite Sissy’s attempts to help her, Louisa sadly ends up trapped in a world in which she doesn’t know how to understand her feelings or experience real joy. At the end of the novel, the narrator speaks of Louisa’s future, relating that she will never again marry or have children, but Sissy’s children will love her, and Louisa will, seeing it “as a duty to be done,” try to “beautify their lives of machinery and reality.”
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