TASK: Write a letter to Mr Gradgrind telling him what you think about the way he treated his own daughter, particularly with reference to the marriage arrangements he has created.
I’m writing to you to express my extreme distaste at your arrangements for your daughter, Louisa’s, marriage. I understand you to think yourself as a man of education, facts and rationality when, in fact, sir, I think you to be unfeeling and cold-hearted, who relies far too much on cold hard facts and statistics and not nearly enough on emotion. Marriage is supposed to be based on affection, trust and respect, and yet you condemn your own daughter to a loveless marriage to an older man. You provide Louisa with statistics and cite them as reason to proceed with the marriage, saying that the statistics are enough to go on to ensure her happiness in this marriage. Emotions, especially love, are rarely rational or logical but neither rationality or logic really have a place in relationships, let alone something such as marriage.
Raising your daughter to believe in only rock-solid facts and evidence and to not put stock into any emotions is hardly the way to raise children, sir. Teaching her that emotions have no meaning and that imagination and creativity will only hold you back in life, that they get in the way of the truth, is detrimental to a child’s development, sir. Telling her to be “dispassionate”, as you so often tell Louisa to be, only leads to a miserable life and a miserable life is one without meaning, hardly worth living.
Sir, I seriously advise you to rethink your arrangements for Louisa’s marriage, as well as your parenting techniques and your own outlook on life. Mr. Gradgrind, facts are not the way to govern your life and they are not something to raise your children by.