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

Examine the presentation of Education, chapters 1 to 4 in "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens

Extracts from this document...


Examine the presentation of Education, chapters 1 to 4 in "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens Charles Dickens wanted to attack the failings of education and the wrong-headedness of the prevailing philosophy in education. He believed that many schools discouraged the development of the children's imaginations, training them as "little parrots and small calculating machines" (Dickens used this phrase in a lecture he gave in 1857). Nor did Dickens approve of the recently instituted teacher training colleges. These had been set up in the 1840s, after the British government acknowledged the need to raise the standard of education in schools. The first graduates of these training colleges began teaching in 1853, a year before the publication of Hard Times. M'Choakumchild, the teacher in Gradgrind's school (which was a non fee-paying school that catered to the lower classes), is Dickens's portrait of one of these newly trained teachers. Many educators agreed through time-sharing Dickens's view of what were wrong with the schools. They believed there was too much emphasis on cramming the children full of facts and figures, and not enough attention given to other aspects of their development, for example "'NOW, what I want is, Facts. ...read more.


Dickens employs two powerful images in this paragraph to illustrate the destructive nature of Gradgrind's brand of schooling. In the first, Gradgrind is portrayed as a weapon firing facts whose purpose is to "blow [the children] clean out of the regions of childhood." Dickens makes the weapon a cannon rather than a pistol or rifle to make the assault that much more brutal. In the second, Gradgrind is a machine -- a "galvanizing apparatus" -- and the children are partially assembled products who are having one part, their "tender young imaginations" replaced by another, and a "grim mechanical substitute." Once again, Dickens emphasizes how much this style of education depersonalizes the children by giving them numbers. When at the end of Chapter 1 he referred to the children as vessels "then and there arranged in order," he must have been referring to this numbering system. 'Now, if Mr. M'Choakumchild, said the gentleman, 'will proceed to give his first lesson here, Mr. Gradgrind, I shall be happy, at your request, to observe his mode of procedure.' ...read more.


The first object with which they had an association, or of which they had a remembrance, was a large black board with a dry Ogre chalking ghastly white figures on it...No little Gradgrind had ever seen a face in the moon; it was up in the moon before it could speak distinctly. No little Gradgrind had ever learnt the silly jingle, Twinkle, twinkle, little star; how I wonder what you are! No little Gradgrind had ever known wonder on the subject, each little Gradgrind having at five years old dissected the Great Bear like a Professor Owen, and driven Charles's Wain like a locomotive engine-driver. No little Gradgrind had ever associated a cow in a field with that famous cow with the crumpled horn who tossed the dog who worried the cat who killed the rat who ate the malt, or with that yet more famous cow who swallowed Tom Thumb: it had never heard of those celebrities, and had only been introduced to a cow as a graminivorous ruminating quadruped with several stomachs." This shows a bit more about Gradgrind's views on education and the way he raises his children. Word Count - 1090 ?? ?? ?? ?? Matthew Willbye 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 education in particular Gradgrind's philosophy of education in Hard Times?

    This is a result of Gradgrind's system of education, that Louisa and Tom are different. Would Louisa and Thomas be different if they were not brought up with Gradgrind's system of education? Yes Louisa and Thomas would have been aloud to grow their own sentiments and affections.

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

    Sissy is portrayed to represent a child's innocence and creativity. Dickens uses this image of Sissy to create a Satirical view of the education system. Compared to characters such as Louisa, Sissy is a much more morally rich and happier character.

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

    This is Dickens' small way of mocking the utilitarian method of teaching, and mocking Gradgrind for his belief in it. Bounderby does not propose to Louisa, but asks Gradgrind to do it for him. Even at this most important of times in Louisa's life, he still considers it a question

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

    This gives the reader the impression that he is a strong character, set in his ways and won't negotiate. The use of 'square' indicates he is not a fair, rounded person. By the end of the novel he develops beyond this.

  1. Hard times: how does Dickens use the first four chapters of "Hard Times" to ...

    This is a very mathematical exact house with an even amount of windows on each side, which builds up Gradgrinds life. In chapter four Dickens introduces the differences between the rich and the poor and how the unfortunate are treated.

  2. Y10 English Literature Coursework

    Her father reacts to this by telling her, 'you are childish' which is also ironic because she is still a child by law. He also asks her 'what would your best friends say?' but she doesn't even have any friends.

  1. Key Question: How does Charles Dickens show his dislike of the education system in ...

    The short chapter ends ominously with the Speaker's repetitive, dictatorial language: "In this life we want nothing but Facts, sir, nothing but Facts," as the children wait to metaphorically "have imperial gallons of facts poured into them."Here, Dickens makes the children look like victims and the "speaker, the school master

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

    the emphasis was helped... the emphasis was helped..." This is a section cut out of chapter one. Dickens uses the word 'emphasis' as it means importance. As facts are very important to Gradgrind, Dickens repeats over and over the word emphasis. This suggests he is trying to put the point across.

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