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

Explore how Dickens presents the theme of education in the first two chapters of Hard Times. What point might he be making about the educational system of his day?

Extracts from this document...


Explore how Dickens presents the theme of education in the first two chapters of Hard Times. What point might he be making about the educational system of his day? Dickens felt and believed that the educational system of his day was too utilitarian, that it was based too much on fact and reason. Also, he considered it to not be aesthetic enough, and not comprehensive enough. Dickens used caricature to exaggerate Gradgrind, the third gentleman, M'Choakumchild, Sissy and Bitzer. Gradgrind is obviously caricatured. His name can be broken down into two parts: "Grad-" and "-grind". "Grad-" being short for "gradual"/"gradually", and "-grind" being "crush", "break" or "wear away". This embellishes his personal beliefs on teaching as hammering away at the children, or "pitchers", to get them to know Facts. The capitalisation of "Facts" by Dickens shows us that they are revered by Gradgrind at an almost godly level. ...read more.


One word appears to express what Dickens' message is would be "deeper". A deeper colouring from the sun can be likened to her deeper knowledge of horses revealed by 'the light of truth'. However, Bitzer is depicted as "so light-eyed and light-haired that the self-same rays appeared to draw out of him what little colour he ever possessed." In this quote, the most important words emerge as "draw out of him". As with Sissy, these can be likened to the factual knowledge being drawn out by 'the light of truth'. The contrast between the two seems to be used to show the contrast between someone who truly has knowledge [Sissy, with her practical knowledge of a horse], versus someone who is meant to have knowledge, but doesn't really [Bitzer, being able to recite the facts about a horse]. The difference between them is what Dickens is trying to show us, the readers. ...read more.


This is brought out in the fact that the third gentleman seems to be based on Henry Cole, who believed that consumer goods should be designed to represent industrial items. This idea of being the same as so many other people, suggests that they all "know" the same facts, but, coupled with the narrator's interjection "If only he had learnt a little less, how infinitely better he might have taught much more!", shows that Dickens believed that knowing too much, and not having practical knowledge of the facts, or an imagination - as he discards fancy as useless, means that their education isn't comprehensive, and is a disadvantage. Coupled with Dickens' background, including his speech on "the one thing needful" being "comprehensive liberal education", one can assume that he believed in children being taught a broad range of subjects, in an open minded fashion. Normally, contrast would be used in greater amounts to express this huge difference between the stereotyped reality, and the desired reality, but Dickens used adjectives with seemingly double meanings, repetition, and tricolons. Jonathan Whitehead 10HJC 17/07/2008 ...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. Hard Times - Charles Dickens: 'Discuss the theme of education in Hard Times'

    What people learn in their childhood is what they grow up to be, and these children have been robbed of everything good and human from them. They will grow up to be just like machines. If the philosophy of utilitarianism had continued, the world would have continued industrialisation not only with machines but also with people.

  2. How Dickens Presents the Education System in "Hard Times".

    The quote may also imply that the teachers are trying to tame the children, into thinking fact is essential and nothing else is important in life beside fact! In the novel children are not called by their name, they are numbered in a numerical order!

  1. Childhood is an integral theme in both Hard Times and God of Small Things

    It is more than just the choice of words and sentences structure that differs from Dickens' writing compared to Roy's. Dickens portrays a world where children are not encouraged, sometimes even allowed to act like children. They must behave maturely, have mature relationships, and must learn to cope with the adult world from a very early age.

  2. What does Dickens have to tell us about education in Hard Times and how ...

    that he was not at all astonished to hear it." Even though chapter one is the shortest chapter because it is reflecting facts, as facts are short and sappy, Dickens probably uses more linguistic devices in that chapter than in any other chapter.

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

    Sissy can also be compared to Dickens himself as he was forced to work in a factory from a very young age and the education system that Sissy enters in to is a metaphor for a factory environment.

  2. Using the first two chapters of Hard Times explore how Dickens shows his dislike ...

    The word 'innocents' is a frail, weak word and represents the children's vulnerable imagination. So Dickens wants the reader to think that the reader to think that the children's imagination is being murdered by the fact loving teachers. The teachers are given dry, dubious names upon Dickens ill-bred view on the teachers and the education system.

  1. Look carefully at the opening chapters of 'Hard Times' and explore some of the ...

    Another occasion when he reveals his ideas and opinions through his presentation of the teachers and inspectors is in his naming of the characters. Dickens creates caricatures of the teachers and their names, Mr Gradgrind and Mr McChoakumchild, are particularly relevant as they allow him to develop this further.

  2. Hard Times by Charles Dickens - How he mocked the educational system in the ...

    You have nothing to do with it . You are not to have, in any object of ornament, what would be a contradiction in fact..... This is the new discovery. This is fact. This is taste" You can see how this statement alone is barmy,pathetic and stupid and you can see how this can be dangerous to children

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