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Explore how Charles Dickens presents the theme of education in the opening chapters of 'Hard Times'.

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Introduction

Explore how Charles Dickens presents the theme of education in the opening chapters of 'Hard Times' Dickens' life co-in sided with the growing responsibility of the state to educate its citizens. Charles Dickens was a reformer and disagreed with the fact that education varied tremendously, based on location, gender and class. He witnessed this first hand with him been taken out of education at the age of 12 and sent to work in a bottle factory, also what education he had was "infrequent" and "irregular" which could be why Dickens presents education as so negative in "Hard Times". In Hard Times Dickens presents education as forceful and un-relentless in the fact that they are continually told facts and there shall be no break in this cycle of facts, all of this is shown by the fact that Mr Gradgrind is portrayed as very square with his description been "square forefinger" having a "square wall of a forehead, which had his eyebrows for its base", and continues with "The speaker's obstinate carriage, square coat, square legs, square shoulders". The fact that Dickens describes Mr Gradgrind as square makes Gradgrind seem a simple, one dimensional with no differ in character or person. ...read more.

Middle

are referred to as "little vessels" and then shortly after when it says "ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim". That quote proves that the students and the teachers would not interact unless the teacher asked for the definition of something, other wise the teacher would stand at the head of the class and tell the students facts and nothing else and the students would have to listen to these facts and learn them. Also the children are taught in manner in which it takes away their individuality, such as when Mr Gradgrind refers to Sissy Jupe as "Girl number twenty". A great example of how Mr Gradgrind wears away at his students is the comparison between Sissy Jupe who is a new student that has just arrived, and Bitzer who has been it Mr Gradgrind's class his whole schooling life, for the description of Sissy it reads "the girl was so dark eyed and dark haired, that she seemed to receive a deeper and more lustrous colour from the sun, when it shone upon her", yet Bitzer is the complete opposite "the boy was so light eyed and light haired that the self ...read more.

Conclusion

an untiring readiness to help and pity one another, deserving often of as much respect, and always of as much generous construction, as the every-day virtues of any class of people in the world". All of this, what these quotes prove we know that it is the opposite of which Mr Grad grind does and believes in. In the novel Dickens uses repetition to show just how important facts were then for example in the first paragraph of the novel Mr Gradgrind continually repeats the word 'Facts' and continually says how important they are. Dickens also uses exaggeration such as when he says that Mr Gradgrind is always "With a rule a pair of scales, and a multiplication table always in his pocket". Also Dickens uses similes like when he is describing Mr Gradgrind's head "like the crust of a plum pie". Furthermore Dickens uses metaphors as well such as the quote "The speaker, and the schoolmaster, and the third grown person present, all backed a little, and swept with their eyes the inclined plane of little vessels," he is writing about the students when it says "little vessels" as if they are just that but we know that they are not. Liam Kelly ...read more.

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