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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 1694 words

“The Rainbow” DH Lawrence, & “Nicholas Nickleby” Charles Dickens - Compare what you think the writers are trying to say about education in the two texts

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"The Rainbow" DH Lawrence "Nicholas Nickleby" Charles Dickens Compare what you think the writers are trying to say about education in the two texts You should write about * How the writers use the two main stories overall * The way place/setting is used * The way the teachers are presented/used Both writers in the two texts set out the school, at first to seem bad and unwelcoming. This is also the case with the education. Lawrence tries to emphasize the school to have a military theme and the pupils to have no individuality. However Dickens tries to emphasize the pupils to be rejects, not cared for by their parents. Dickens' school is in very bad condition with poor and few facilities whereas Lawrence's school is in pretty good condition and is well looked after. Both texts start by describing the appearance of the schools. Lawrence describes his school as a "prison". The word prison suggests that the school is lifeless, dull and maybe threatening. Similarly Dickens describes his school as a "barn". The word barn suggests that the school is dirty, badly constructed and only suitable for animals. Lawrence then goes on further to say the school is an "empty prison", which suggests that the school is hidden into the surroundings, isolated with no life.


In both texts, the two teachers, Mr Harby and Mr Squeers, inflict severe violence on the pupils. Mr Harby takes a boy called Hill to the other side of the room and Ursula can still hear "the thud of the cane", which suggests Mr Harby is giving a severe thrashing so loud. Similarly, Mr squeers is "arming himself" with the cane, which suggests that he uses the cane as a weapon, ready to attack. Mr Squeers attacks with his weapon on a boy called Smike "until his arm was tired out" just because he has warts on his hands. This suggests that Mr Squeers is very greedy, and is a very strict and nasty person. Another example of this is when Mr Squeers again thrashes Smike with "one desperate cut". The other main teachers in the text, Ursula and Nicholas are new to the school, Ursula has an experience of teaching in the new school, whereas Nicholas doesn't In both texts the two teachers, Ursula and Nicholas, seem to be uncomfortable with the school in some way or another. In "Nicholas Nickleby", Nicholas sees the class for the first time and looks "in dismay" around, which suggests that its not what he is expecting and is shocked by what he is seeing.


Lawrence's text has more atmosphere outside and inside the school as it's described as silent, deserted, dark and gloomy. The dry plants from the window representing the pupils with life sapped from them. The building itself "imitating the church's architecture" suggesting the building has life and is where mourning takes place. However Dickens' school has no atmosphere and no description of the school itself. In Lawrence's text, Mr Harby seems more powerful and has more depth to his character, how he speaks to the children as if they are in the military trying to imitate the army's strict and smart regime. However Mr Squeers has no depth in his character and doesn't seem to be as powerful as Mr Harby. He is greedy and keeps the money given to him to improve the school's facilities for himself and family. Personally, I don't think this would happen in a proper school. Mr Squeers doesn't even teach the proper spelling or meaning of words correctly which makes you wonder if he is even fit to be a teacher. In Lawrence's text we get to know Ursula's feelings a lot more than Nicholas', this provides a lot more depth to the character and makes us understand the character better, whereas Dickens doesn't go into much detail in his characters resulting in lack of atmosphere and depth in the text. ?? ?? ?? ?? Barry Webster Wider reading-comparative study

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