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

Hard times: how does Dickens use the first four chapters of "Hard Times" to introduce the themes of the novel by Charles Dickens.

Extracts from this document...


Hard times: how does Dickens use the first four chapters of "Hard Times" to introduce the themes of the novel by Charles Dickens Pre 1914 novel Gcse English coursework Kings Norton Boy's school Ben Gibb Dickens wrote "Hard Times" in instalments in 1854. He had visited Manchester and seen the conditions of the factory workers there and he used this and his own experiences as a child to contribute to some of the ideas in the novel. He hated the theories of utilanaism, which were becoming popular. He disliked the emphasis of fact and believed that imagination and emotion were necessary for human development and he included these in "Hard times" In the opening Chapter Dickens introduces the theme of the philosophy of fact through Mr Gradgrinds character. When Dickens is describing Gradgrind he is linking him with a mathematical figure. The word "square" is used to emphasise this, word suits Gradgrind because he is only interested in mathematical facts and statistics. Dickens uses repetition to convey the importance of the word fact. Gradgrind uses the word constantly: "Now what I want is facts, teach these boys and girls nothing but fact" Dickens' descriptive language gives us a clearer image of Gradgrind: ...read more.


Tom gets into debt and robs a bank and Louisa marries a dreadful man who she detests, just to leave her own house to get away from the pressure of facts. Dickens uses contrast between the philosophies of fact with fairy tales and nursery rhymes to highlight the difference between light -hearted fun and dry rotten facts. Dickens uses the symbol of the circus to represent the development of the imagination. He is trying to contrast the idea of utilitarianism with the importance of fantasy and imagination associated with independence and spontaneity. The circus represents a world being able to respond sympathetically to others, this is emphasised by how the circus helps Gradgrind later along in the novel to represent everybody needs a piece of Sleary's circus inside them. Dickens also uses a sarcastic humour to make the idea of Gradgrind thinking he is a good father look ridiculous. Dickens tries to show us that Gradgrind isn't a bad father, he just thinks he is doing the best to give his children a good future, but what makes it so ridiculous is how wrong he is and that he cant see it right in front of his eyes. ...read more.


When Mr Blackpool comes to Bounderby to ask advice concerning his wife he basically tells him to get lost because a poor person doesn't have any rights and laws don't apply to them, after Bounderby fires him and he ends up being an unemployed accused thief. We find out further into the novel that Mr Bounderby is a fraud, he wasn't abandoned by his parents or growing up in poverty it was all a lie just an act, to fool people into believing he had built him self up, so the poor have no excuse. The circus played a big role on the novel throughout. Gradgrind despised even thinking of the circus it was against his fact religion, to him it was a waste of educational time, but the circus ended up helping his son get away from Coketown, which basically tells the reader everyone needs a piece of the circus. Sissy Jupe is unlike the other characters in almost every possible way; she is a symbol of "fancy" and "imagination". Sissy Jupe acted as a piece missing in the Gradgrinds hearts, and when she came along she filled it and gave them a different view of the world, she was the person who did the most for the Gradgrinds. Name: Ben Gibb ...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. Irony In Hard Times

    decisions and not one who frequently makes mistakes and has to apologise. Alternatively, however, Dickens could amplify his portrayal of Gradgrind's sorrow by having Gradgrind leaking tears or have him beg Louisa for forgiveness. Despite the interpretation of the quotation above, Gradgrind could just be feigning to be sorry.

  2. What impression does Dickens give us of Coketown and its people in Hard Times?

    This image holds implications of hostility and unwelcoming territory. It suggests a vicious nature to the town, suggesting that those who live there are primitive and old fashioned. The use of personification brings the town to life, giving it the intimidating characteristics of a 'savage'.

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

    There is a strong contrast between Bitzer and Sissy Jupe's characters. The paragraph where Sissy and Bitzer are sitting in the same ray of light shows they are complete opposites but it can also suggest that because of their differences they are two halves of one person, "the girl was

  2. Compare and Contrast the role of Character and Characterization in the novels 'Hard Times' ...

    Early in the novel, when the reader can identify closely with Harry's enthusiasm for the masculine and adult world of work at Marlowe's, Larry's voice appears as one possessed of a more isolated insight. When Harry is trying to gain an apprentice at the works, he deliberately avoids Larry, because

  1. Hard Times - Charles Dickens: 'Discuss the theme of education in Hard Times'

    but has a practical knowledge and experience of them and, unlike the other children in the novel, she is able to feel for those not in the 'greatest number'; she possesses a capacity to feel and imagine. Dickens was not the only person who shared this view, however, as his

  2. 'How does Dickens present education in particular Gradgrind's philosophy of education in Hard Times?

    Through the novel we can see how different life was compared with the modern world today. Louisa and Thomas are Gradgrind's children. Both of them were brought up with Gradgrind's system of education. Dickens describes Louisa to be very cold towards others revealing no emotion with the exception of her brother Tom, for whom she cares deeply.

  1. Charles Dickens wrote the novel 'Hard Times' in 1854. This novel expresses the extremity ...

    Although women where treat badly there was no comparison to the way children where treat. Children could be beaten, abused even killed and no one could care, as they had no birth certificate. Louisa grows up to be a very disturbed child and is forced into marriage with a man twice her age that she doesn't care for.

  2. Hard Times by Charles Dickens.

    The story starts with a capital letter to make it important ''Now what I want is Facts. teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. 'It was first published as a serial in a magazine, beginning in 1854.

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