Taylor BaskinRevision: Hard Times
11/2/11 period 5
After reading chapters one through five of Charles Dickens' Hard Times, I would argue that the song “All That's Known" from Spring Awakening serves as an appropriate anthem for Louisa, Tom, and Sissy Jupe. The song describes the angst, frustration, and aggravation they feel toward Mr. Gradgrind and his factual way of life.
Throughout the first book of Hard Times, Dickens makes it perfectly clear that Mr. Gradgrind, who happens to be Louisa and Tom's father and Sissy Jupe's teacher, is all about facts. He eats, sleeps, and breathes facts as if it were his religion. Gradgrind firmly believes that everything in the world is black and white and everything he teaches to his children and students must be factual. Mr. Gradgrind does not allow these children to "fancy" anything or think outside of the box. That is where the song "All That's Known” comes into play. The first lyric of the song says, "All That's Known in history and science, overthrown at school, at home, by blind men". The blind man that the song refers to is Mr. Gradgrind in Sissy, Louisa, and Tom's eyes. These children have an undeniable, indescribable instinct that there is so much more to life even though Gradgrind is trying to sway them into thinking the same way as him. Louisa and Tom get caught peeping at the circus that is in town and Mr. Gradgrind acts as if it's the end of the world. He and his wife tell their children that there is nothing factual about a circus and to go look at the minerals of the earth outside which to them are factual and “real". These children have only been exposed to facts in their life so far and are hungry to experience all the color that the world has to offer. In the song there is a verse that says, “Thought is suspect, and money is their idol, And nothing is okay unless it’s scripted in their Bible”. I think that Sissy, Louisa, and Tom would certainly say this about Mr. and Mrs. Gradgrind and are craving to know...