There was a light with nothing to rest upon, a fire with nothing to burn, a starved imagination keeping life in itself somehow.

Background.

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itemThere was a light with nothing to rest upon, a fire with nothing to burn, a starved imagination keeping life in itself somehow.” is a quotation from Hard Times (Book 1, Chapter 3).

item Hard Times – For These Times (more commonly now known as Hard Times) is the tenth novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854.

 

Context.

item This quote is a description of Louisa Gradgrind. Louisa and her brother Tom, the two eldest of Thomas Gradgrind‘s children, have been brought up to learn only facts. This leads them to an unhappy childhood, devoid of imagination.

item Taken from the following passage in Chapter 3 of Book 1 of Hard Times:

Dumb with amazement, Mr. Gradgrind crossed to the spot where his family was thus disgraced, laid his hand upon each erring child, and said:

‘Louisa!!  Thomas!!’

Both rose, red and disconcerted.  But, Louisa looked at her father with more boldness than Thomas did.  Indeed, Thomas did not look at him, but gave himself up to be taken home like a machine.

‘In the name of wonder, idleness, and folly!’ said Mr. Gradgrind, leading each away by a hand; ‘what do you do here?’

‘Wanted to see what it was like,’ returned Louisa, shortly.

‘What it was like?’

‘Yes, father.’

There was an air of jaded sullenness in them both, and particularly in the girl: yet, struggling through the dissatisfaction of her face, there was a light with nothing to rest upon, a fire with nothing to burn, a starved imagination keeping life in itself somehow, which brightened its expression.  Not with the brightness natural to cheerful youth, but with uncertain, eager, doubtful flashes, which had something painful in them, analogous to the changes on a blind face groping its way.

She was a child now, of fifteen or sixteen; but at no distant day would seem to become a woman all at once.  Her father thought so as he looked at her.  She was pretty.  Would have been self-willed (he thought in his eminently practical way) but for her bringing-up.

‘Thomas, though I have the fact before me, I find it difficult to believe that you, with your education and resources, should have brought your sister to a scene like this.’

‘I brought him, father,’ said Louisa, quickly.  ‘I asked him to come.’

‘I am sorry to hear it.  I am very sorry indeed to hear it.  It makes Thomas no better, and it makes you worse, Louisa.’

 

 

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2018-08-01T23:07:52+00:00Categories: Hard Times|Tags: , , |

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