A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over.

Background.

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itemA man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over.” is a quotation from Hard Times (Book 1, Chapter 2).

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 Description of Thomas Gradgrind, who believes that facts should underlie everything.

item Taken from the following opening passage in Book 1, Chapter 2 of Hard Times:

Thomas Gradgrind, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, sir—peremptorily Thomas—Thomas Gradgrind. With a rule and a pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple arithmetic. You might hope to get some other nonsensical belief into the head of George Gradgrind, or Augustus Gradgrind, or John Gradgrind, or Joseph Gradgrind (all supposititious, non-existent persons), but into the head of Thomas Gradgrind—no, sir!

In such terms Mr. Gradgrind always mentally introduced himself, whether to his private circle of acquaintance, or to the public in general. In such terms, no doubt, substituting the words ‘boys and girls,’ for ‘sir,’ Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts.

 

Utilitarianism.

item In his portrayal of Thomas Gradgrind, Charles Dickens was parodying followers of utilitarian ideas. Utilitarianism had been pioneered by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832). In Gradgrind, Dickens highlights his belief that utilitarianism can be seen as selfish, with its rather mechanical approach to weighing up actions. When the lives of two of his own children fall apart, Thomas Gradgrind sees the error of this philosophy.

item As a result of the characteristics of Thomas Gradgrind, the term Gradgrindian has entered the English language to describe someone having a soulless devotion to facts and figures.

 

 

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Related.

item Click here to see more quotations related to the character Thomas Gradgrind.

item If you like this, we think you might also be interested in these related quotations:

 

 

2018-08-03T14:37:39+00:00Categories: Hard Times|Tags: |

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