In this fifth chapter the readers are certainly convinced of Bitzer’s unpleasantness because of what he says about horse riders. He says, “The horse riders never mind what they say,” which shows that he has been affected by Mr.Gradgrind’s teaching method in that now he looks down upon anything that is slightly fanciful. This lets the readers know that Mr.Gradgrind’s system is failing because although the pupils he is teaching are becoming more intellectual, they are also becoming more devoid of sentiment, and therefore more unkind to others around them.
I think that Sissy becomes a much more favoured character in this chapter because she seems innocent and frightened when she says things like, “he frightened me so.” I think that this is Dickens trying to prove that the more fanciful and spirited character in the book should be treated better and listened to more. By the last chapter in the second book it is completely clear that Mr.Gradgrind’s views have been wrong all along. At this point in the story Louisa has been married to Mr.Bounderby, and Sissy is living with the Gradgrinds. It is obvious throughout the book that Louisa dislikes Mr.Bounderby intensely; however her father never picks up on these emotions. That is why, during this chapter, Louisa breaks down and tells her father how she feels.
I think it is significant that Louisa arrives at her fathers house drenched from the storm, as this makes the scene seem more dramatic and her seem in a much greater state of desperation. She says a lot about what she feels and she lets go of all her pent up frustration when she says things like, “I curse the hour in which I was born to such a destiny,” “if you had only neglected me, what a much better and much happier creature I should have been this day,” and, “What have you done O father, what have you done with the garden that should have bloomed once, in this great wilderness here?”
These are all very powerful words and I think that it is when Louisa has made all her points that the readers see Mr.Gradgrind for what he really is: not a man who wishes to crush the happiness of anyone he comes into contact with, but a father who loves his children and only has their best interests at heart, regardless of how misguided his ideas on upbringing are. I can tell this because he says things like, “my poor child,” and, “I never knew you were unhappy, my child.”
The plot outcomes really bring Dickens’ points of view out into the open as he has shown how the characters that were oppressed by Mr.Gradgrind’s system have been destroyed and how the people who stayed true to themselves have succeeded. For instance, Louisa had become the sorry, wretched woman who broke down in front of her father, and Tom has resorted to stealing and deceit. Also Bitzer, who has been brought up alongside Mr.Gradgrind’s system has become an unemotional man of facts and figures, who doesn’t care for anyone’s feelings.
Sissy on the other hand who had remained kind and spirited for the whole of the story, and who was raised by the circus, becomes a very carefree and happy woman. Mr.Gradgrind when shown the error of his ways becomes a much more tolerable man and I think the readers respect him for making a change. I think this is how Dickens tries to express the fact that a change in society must be made, and if it were the person who was responsible for the change would be greatly respected and honoured.