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Analysis of Hard Times Chapter 2

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Introduction

Analysis of Chapter 2 Bitzer is a pupil at Mr Gradgrind's school. As we learn in later chapters, he is a bully and is quite offensive to other children. In chapter 2 Gradgrind asks Bitzer for his definition of a horse after Sissy is unable to define it exactly how Gradgrind has taught it. We learn that Bitzer is described as very pale and in the classroom at the time he sits in sunlight, making him even paler. This makes Bitzer seem angelic and innocent. As the title of the chapter is "Murdering the Innocents" the reader may be wandering if Bitzer is to be murdered. However, when Bitzer speaks, he defines the horse like a dictionary. ...read more.

Middle

This shows sensitivity which had not appeared in the novel before this point. When she tells Gradgrind that her name is Sissy, he immediately tells her off: "Sissy is not a name... Call yourself Cecilia." He is further angered when Cecilia says that her father "belongs to the horse-riding." He tells her that this is no way to describe one's career and that she ought to say "he is a veterinary surgeon, a farrier and horsebreaker." Gradgrind now probably realises that he has regressed from the lesson, and wants to get back on track. He asks Sissy for a definition of a horse. When she is unable to answer he says "Girl number twenty unable to define a horse!" ...read more.

Conclusion

The gentleman then says "you mustn't fancy," again attacking Sissy for her character. The men do not show sympathy for the girl, as they have complete faith in their method of teaching. They believe it to be the best way to educate one's self. We also learn about Sissy's naiviety "she were frightened by the matter of fact prospect the world afforded." In comparison with the men who give the impression that they are highly educated and mature. Of course this adds to the irony, because Dickens knew that the style of teaching was wrong and ineffective. In conclusion I feel the hostility shown towards Sissy, is because of her different background. There is such a big contrast between fact and fancy. She is like a broken cog in a machine, and this is why Gradgrind is angry, because only she can 'fix' herself by learning 'facts.' ...read more.

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