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How does Dickens present education in the novel Hard Times?

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How does Dickens present education in the novel Hard Times? In the novel, Dickens presents education in a very old fashioned way. Thomas Gradgrind is obsessed with teaching just facts and that people must not use their imagination. He has a school run by Mr M'Choakumchild. Mr. Gradgrind, whose voice is 'dictatorial', opens the novel by stating 'Now, what I want is facts' at his school in Coketown. He is a man of 'facts and calculations.' He wants his pupils to come out of school correct, having vast knowledge of facts and to turn into a "Hand", or a worker. His education is based clearly around facts, no imagination or wondering, just facts: 'Now, what I want is facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.' He believes that anything but facts will not be of any use to children and should be removed from their brains, like deleting a file off a computer. "Now, what I want is facts" His education is delivered in a narrow limited manor. ...read more.


Louisa feels suppressed as she is told she cannot imagine, '"I have such unmanagable thoughts" returned his sister, "they will wonder."' When Sissy Jupe comes to live with Louisa and Tom, Louisa was fascinated to know about Sissy's fuller life and asks her question after question of every kind as her imagination is starved, "Tell me more about him" '"Why was he angry at the dog" Louisa demanded' "Finish by telling me how you're father left you, Sissy. Now that I have asked you so much, tell me the end," Thomas and Louisa feel like they are united in isolation, they discuss their troubles with each other and stand by each other. Thomas, however, appears more beaten down and negative. When Mr. Gradgrind found both of his children watching a circus, Thomas gave in more easily. "Thomas did not look at him but gave himself up to be taken home like a machine," This showed Thomas feeling hopeless with the situation. There was no questioning of his fathers' power. Thomas has become resentful and angry because his imaginative needs have not been met, "I wish I could collect all the facts ...read more.


But eventualy Mr Gradgrind gives up and accepts he cannot convert Sissy. '"I fear, Jupe" said Mr Gradgrind, "that your continuance at the school any longer would be useless."' He gives Sissy the chance to stay with the Gradgrinds and look after Mrs. Gradgrind. Despite Sissy failing the experiment, he can still make her a "Hand" by helping his wife. Dickens' view of education is extremely satirical. He does not agree with any of Gradgrinds views on how education should be presented. The way he goes about informing the reader of this is not subtle. The chapters in which he names are sarcastic, "Sissy's progress" Dickens uses irony here to sarcastically describe sissy's lack of progress under Gradgrind's' education as he if failing sissy. "Never Wonder" Dickens enforces the narrow minded view of Gradgrind, telling Louisa to never wonder which is stupid as it is part of human nature to. He informs the reader what he thinks is happening to the children in the chapter title, "Murdering the innocents" Dickens relates to the story in the bible by the title as he thinks dickens is murdering the innocent children by taking their imagination and wonder out of their heads. ...read more.

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