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GCSE: Nicholas Nickleby

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  1. How does Charles Dickens show dislike for the education system and concerns about childhood in 'Nicholas Nickleby'?

    One of the key characters used in Dickens mission to pluck at the heartstrings of the reader is Mr Squeers. When we are first introduced to this character we are given strong first impressions about his personality. He seems to care little if at all for anyone else, particularly not about children. A good example of this is when 'Squeers knocked him (the boy) off the trunk with a blow to one side of the face, and knocked him on again with a blow on the other.'

    • Word count: 1352
  2. Nicholas Nickleby

    Dickens wrote at a time when the written word was king. Educated Victorians (i.e. the upper and middle class) were fascinated by ideas innovation, so they were addicted to reading. This also meant their ideas were spread quickly and effectively through books and newspapers. Dickens novels were long intricate and flamboyant. He was a virtuoso performer who loved the power of words. Dickens always ended on cliff hangers. The majority of his novels were over 500 pages long his chapters wetted the appetites of his reader by hinting at the plot by page and chapter headings.

    • Word count: 1829
  3. What is Dickens trying to tell us about education in the 1800s in his novel Nicholas Nickleby?

    He tries to obtain this instant obedience in school by regularly beating the boys with a cane. Mr Squeers sees his school more as a business than a school-learning environment. "This is our shop, Nickleby". This quote shows that he is treating the school as a business because his primary objective is to make money. He does not really care about the boys' education, just as long as he turns over a nice profit. As Mr Squeers is owner of Dotheboys Hall he decides how to teach the boys or not, as the case may be. Mr and Mrs Squeers deeply dislike all of the boys in their school, except their own children.

    • Word count: 1822
  4. How Dickens creates a picture of nineteenth Century school in 'Nicholas Nickleby'.

    In the novel, Dickens shows how one man can change everything about Dothebys Hall School for Boys and help the disadvantaged children in need. However, the surroundings of the school are described to be dirty and old, for example when Dickens describes the desks in the classrooms to be 'old and rickety' this portrays that the school is poorly kept and unbearable to see. This also illustrates that the classrooms are kept insufficiently and hygienically. The children are sleeping in bad conditions for example 'as they lay closely packed together, covered from warmth's sake.

    • Word count: 861
  5. Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall - review.

    Just like Dickens ' characters, their names often give us clues to their personalities such as Captain Grimes. In the prelude Waugh uses a matter-of-fact tone to describe the behaviour of the Bollinger Club. Dr. Fagan is the headmaster of the school. He is not really a Doctor; he just says he is to make himself sound important. He does not openly criticise the atrocious behaviour of this particular group of grown men, who seen to have important and responsible jobs.

    • Word count: 1066
  6. How do Charles Dickens in 'Nicholas Nickelby' and Laurie Lee in 'Cider with Rosie' present school life?

    Charles Dickens's educational system from early nineteenth (1812 -1870) ran differently relating to Laurie Lee during later twentieth century (1914-1997), is a significant difference. Buildings in "Nicholas Nickleby" were described as "bare and dirty" and the ceiling supported like that of a "barn." The inside would be cold consisting of "rickety furniture"; whish suggests that the school was poorly built possibly due to lack of money. Nicholas being accustomed to poverty (by the unfortunate speculations of his father) had taught him to make his own way into the world; he may have found the school conditions familiar.

    • Word count: 1929
  7. With close reference to chapter 13 of

    During Nicholas's time at Dotheboys Hall, he meets one of the boys "Smike" and befriends him. Smike has no parents to speak of so he is kept on as a servant to the family. Nearing the end of the chapter Nicholas inspires Smike to run away, unfortunately he is caught, resulting in the chapters climax. Squeers is about to beat Smike but then Nicholas steps in and following a fight, they make off together. Throughout the chapter Dickens enhances the reader's negative feelings towards Squeers. Dickens use of verbs to describe Squeers's actions ads, a greater depth to his character, using words like retorted, bounced and feasted.

    • Word count: 1527
  8. Discuss the use of humour in

    This is shown in the very first line of 'The Opposite Sex'. Only six words in, the word 'sex'is used. To many this would be shocking, but also a small pointer in the direction of an exciting read. When Lee describes how his life was as open as a 'cucumber frame' and that sex to him was a 'constant force like the national grid', we begin to see his imaginative use of similies, which are used well by Lee to create good humourous effect. One of the funniest parts from the story follows, as Lee describes how he felt about sex, using lots of tricky similies and using the comparison between sex and a 'game of cricket'.

    • Word count: 1256
  9. Examine in detail Dickens' portrayal of the flaws in the Victorian education system in his novel 'Nicholas Nickleby'. What were his aims in presenting Dotheboys Hall to his readers? To extent was he successful in achieving his aims?

    The school is ran by a man named Mr Wackford Squeers who is mindlessly cruel to the children. His wife also helps at the school and is just as callous as he. Mr Squeers aims to have total power over the children and to become very rich by stealing their money and possessions. Having read chapter eight the conditions are frightful and very unpleasant. One of the first happening that shows appalling conditions in the school, is that there is no water because the water pump has frozen.

    • Word count: 1922
  10. “The Rainbow” DH Lawrence, & “Nicholas Nickleby” Charles Dickens - Compare what you think the writers are trying to say about education in the two texts

    However, Dickens describes his school as a "crowded scene", which suggests that the school is full of life and full of objects to attract attention. The main classroom in "The Rainbow" is described as "big" with a "squadron" of desks, which suggests the military theme, and the classroom being chilling and threatening. However the main classroom in "Nicholas Nickleby" is described as "bare" and "dirty" with desks "cut and notched", which suggests that the school is not cared for and that the headmaster does not spend the money given to him for the school, he spends it on himself and family.

    • Word count: 1694

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