• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Basing your answer on a detailed discussion of two episodes from hard times - book the first sewing - discuss Thomas gradgrind's role and significance in the novel.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

BASING YOUR ANSWER ON A DETAILED DISCUSSION OF TWO EPISODES FROM HARD TIMES - BOOK THE FIRST SEWING - DISCUSS THOMAS GRADGRIND'S ROLE AND SIGNIFICANCE IN THE NOVEL "Hard Times" is a book written by Charles Dickens and is set in the fictional city of Coketown. In the book Dickens puts across his views about Victorian society through his characterisation of the individuals in the story. The two episodes I will discuss in this essay are, chapter one and chapter six when Gradgrind informs Louisa of a marriage proposal from Bounderby. I have chosen these two episodes to draw from when discussing Gradgind's nature and his portrayal in the novel as they show a progression in his character. In chapter one, Gradgrind, who is not yet named, is shown as a harsh, unattractive figure with a, "square forehead". His angular face with its', "cave" shaped eyes, square, "wall" of a forehead and, "a plantation of firs" for hair reflects the, "plain, bare, monotonous schoolroom" which stands before him. This shows him to be full of facts just as the schoolroom is. ...read more.

Middle

These contrasts are very clever as they show Gradgrind to be kinder than Bounderby, which has not been shown in the past, but also show that Gradgrind is not as kind as Sleary who, incidentally is full of imagination (another contrast with Gradgrind to show that being full of facts is unfavourable). The contrast between Gradgrind and Sleary is partially shown through tone of voice. Although husky and drink-sodden, Sleary speaks comprehensibly, far more so that Gradgrind or Bounderby. Sleary's speech impediment, "thquire", and circus lingo add charm and softness to his speeches, whereas, Gradgrind's matter-of-fact speeches, "He is gone away, and there is no present expectation of his return", present him in a somewhat insensitive light. However, although this disparity depicts Gradgrind as having an unsympathetic nature, his actions and his contrast with Bounderby gives us a more positive view of him. Gradgrind is shown to be different from Bounderby at this point as he wishes to take Sissy in, even though she is not full of facts and could influence his children with stories of her time at the circus, whilst Bounderby says to Gradgrind, "No. ...read more.

Conclusion

The reader can no longer imagine him as thinking of Sissy as a vessel as in chapter one. However, the reader also notices that Gradgrind hasn't made a total reform, far from it, and that he still believes tenaciously in facts. The two episodes also show a change in the way Gradgrind views his status. In chapter one it would be inconceivable that he would spend any time talking to, lower, circus people, let alone be thing about taking in a lowly circus child! I think that through the differences between Gradgrind's character in chapter one and in chapter six he is showing that through better communication and understanding the Victorian education system and industry could change for the better. In conclusion, I think that Dickens has used the characterisation of Gradgrind very cleverly. Even his name reflects his character. The, "Grad" or grade is because of his determination that his children should concentrate on factual matters alone, they are in danger of never fully developing into "normal" people, and the, "grind" and its concern with the different stages of our lives. His descriptions of Gradgrind all show links with the Victorian industry and education system in this skilful political novel. English Vicky Maberley LVI 22nd January 2003 page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hard Times section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Hard Times essays

  1. How does Dickens present his attitudes to education in the opening chapters of hard ...

    Because of this the children will grow up to have no passion for issues as they only believe what they have been told. This can be seen later on when Bitzer is shown to have no morals as he only knows what to say from his education.

  2. By the end of Book 1, Dickens's criticism of Gradgrind's utilitarian thinking is apparent. ...

    in the darker corner by the fireside, now looking at him, now looking at the bright sparks" Tom, who is his model pupil, has his face in his hands suggesting he has no life left inside him, but his sister looks into the fire, as though she is looking to a light in the future.

  1. The purpose of this essay is to consider what role the circus folk play ...

    are the same and the evidence that has confronted him that both Louisa and Tom are interested in the circus and by omission fancy. The third introduction to the circus that this essay is looking at is where Sissy has discovered that her father has run away and left her,

  2. The purpose of this essay is to describe the characters of Mr. Thomas Gradgrind ...

    it's pupils, Gradgrind subjects his children to that same system, saying in his opening speech in the school 'this is the principle on which I raise my own children'. Even though the children who attend his school come from much less wealthy families to his own, he does not educate them any differently to his own children.

  1. Examine Dickens' presentation of the education system in 'Hard Times'.

    Gradgrind sees that teaching his children to always look at the facts to decide on things has turned against him. His own son has broken the law and it is essentially Gradgrinds fault. Dickens is showing that not only has not allowing the children to 'fancy' or have an imagination

  2. Y10 English Literature Coursework

    After a few sentences of facts about horses, Dickens ends the paragraph by saying, 'Thus (and much more) Bitzer.' By doing this, Dickens is saying 'I can't tell you any more facts; basically this boy ahs swallowed a dictionary.'

  1. Look carefully at the opening chapters of Hard Times and explore Dickens attitude towards ...

    He is getting his point across to the reader how strongly he feels about how education was in the Victorian times and concern on how it was developing. Dickens has described both Bitzer and Sissy as incomparable. He shows them as completely dissimilar characters with different views on the world.

  2. Hard Times Essay

    prepares them for a life of working in the drab factories of Coketown. Dickens does not really encounter education for children in poverty in this book. Dickens's view on the education system and schools is that they are where any trace of imagination and wonder are extracted from the children, and replaced by pure facts.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work