The Golden Rule–‘Absurd!’

hard-timesWe find in this chapter the stirrings of the human heart. First, Cissy answers the question, ‘What is the first principle of [Political Economy]?’ with, ‘To do unto others as I would that they should do unto me’, which seems ‘absurd’ to factual, self-interested people like Gradgrind and Bounderby. Dickens notes, however, that ‘it did seem … as if fantastic hope could take as strong a hold as Fact.’ Louisa Gradgrind is moved by compassion, though her brother Tom remains calculating and their mother timid.

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