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

How effectively Dickens presents his characters and themes in the opening two chapters of Hard Times.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In this essay I aim to look at how effectively Dickens presents his characters and themes in the opening two chapters of Hard Times. I am going to comment on his style and language in this response. Firstly I will analyse and then evaluate the text. I will look at a number of things including content, tone, rhythm, context, language and style. Hard Times is a narrative prose which Dickens writes using plenty of literary devices. Firstly I'm going to look at chapter one "The One Thing Needful" and chapter two "Murdering the Innocents." The first thing I noticed was the name of both the chapters were biblical phrases. The first chapter sets the scene in a "plain, bare, monotonous vault of a schoolroom." We know there are three adults present "the speaker, the schoolmaster and third grown man present." It is here that we learn that the narrator is a grown man but we don't know anything else about him. During chapter two, we are still in the classroom, and we discover, the third grown man is called M'Choakemchild. However, we still don't know the name of the narrator. In the classroom, Gradgrind is questioning a young girl about her father's job and horses. ...read more.

Middle

Metaphors and similes are used quite a lot in the description of Gradgrind e.g. "the speaker's square wall of a forehead, which had his eyebrows for a base, while his eyes found commodious cellarage in two dark caves, overshadowed by the wall." Dickens also uses repetition of the word "facts" and especially "nothing but facts." I think that this is done because Dickens wants to get across to us that all Gradgrind wants to teach these children are facts. Dickens' style is very consistent and it doesn't change throughout chapter one and two. The intentions behind chapter one and chapter two include several things. For example, Dickens wants to set the scene, and give us a definite opinion of Gradgrind. He is also starting to tell us about how his teachers should be and what his school is like. Throughout the book, he wants to inform, whilst entertaining parents of the dangers of these schools just being allowed to be set up like this. As we know that Hard Times was first printed weekly from April to August of 1854 in a house owner's magazine, so therefore, it was quite likely to be read by a large audience. When looking at the context that Hard Times was set in, I am going to discuss utilitarianism and also the education during and before 1854. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is because without using the descriptive language and the figurative language that is used, I don't think that Dickens would portray his feelings on the subject matter as well as he does. I also feel that now I understand the context of Hard Times, I can understand the book better. All of the above mentioned literary devices contribute to making the first two chapters effective in presenting the characters and themes. At the end of each chapter you're left with a clear description of one of the characters. Dickens writes these in such a way that you want to learn more and if they carry on to your expectations. You also learn quite clear themes at the beginning and so during the story you know what Dickens is trying to achieve and inform people. I realise that at the time, this wasn't published as a book, but in a weekly magazine. This makes it quite understandable as Dickens obviously had to make his each chapter effective to keep the readers interested. If they could only read one chapter at a time and the first two were really dreary, they wouldn't be interested to read anymore. I believe that this is why he has started with a big impact. How effectively does Dickens present his characters and themes in the opening two chapters of "Hard Times"? Comment on his style and language in your response. Analyse and evaluate. By Bryony Harper, 12MZS ...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?

    Sissy still has sentiments and still shows affection towards the people that surround her. Sissy has turned out better than most, she is caring and loving. Sissy has the ability to make other peoples lives better, she sustained hope through out the novel even when she was deserted by her

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

    Gradgrind is shown to be bringing up his children based on a utilitarianism view. "I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children". Even with these views, Dickens shows it is also important to incorporate an element of Romanticism which is

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

    The structure of the novel is significant. The separate book titles within the novel represent a gardening process. He is suggesting that a natural process is being distorted. He is saying if you sow the seeds wrong, look what they are like when you harvest them.

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

    This suits his personality because he is harsh and unfeeling. His also described as having a "great puffed up head" and "being inflated like a balloon", his head is so big full of ego and boastfulness it looks like he is about to explode; he is the kind of person who looks like his personality.

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

    Gradgrind wants to drum facts into the pupil's minds; he is in control over what they learn and therefore this reflects on his rationalism. Dickens has described Gradgrind's mouth this way as he is putting a point across about rationalists, that they have no imaginable feelings and are just filled of facts.

  2. Looking at 'Down', consider how Dickens presents the impact that Gradgrind's philosophy has had ...

    father accuses Tom of having brought his sister to the circus; she says "I brought him Father...I asked him to come." Tom later took advantage of the fact the he is the only person who Louisa cares for by persuading her to agree to marry Bounderby, not because he wants

  1. Hard Times Essay

    Fantasy books, creative writing and anything supernatural would not even be considered in the minds of the teachers. The pupils were taught about economic issues, the government and mathematical figures. They were also taught some politics. Their education was limited, and it did not allow their minds to stretch to the boundaries of fantasy and fiction.

  2. 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.

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