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Look carefully at the first four chapters of "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens and explore some of the ways in which Dickens's attitudes are presented.

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Introduction

Paul Loughlin 11Aw GCSE English Coursework-Pre 1914 Prose Look carefully at the first four chapters of "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens and explore some of the ways in which Dickens's attitudes are presented. In this assignment I will be writing about the novel "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens. The novel is set among the industrial smokestacks and factories of Coketown, England. Dickens's was concerned with the miserable lives of the poor and working classes of England during his time. Dickens's uses the novel's characters and stories to expose a massive gap between England's rich and poor and the unfeeling self-interest of the middle and upper classes. Dickens's suggests that England itself is turning into a factory machine, and that the middle class was only concerned with making a profit in the most efficient and practical way possible, through the children in the schools. Even through its not Dickens's most popular novel, it is an important expression of the fundamental values of human existence. In this assignment I will be focusing on Dickens's attitudes and views towards education of the period of which Hard Times was wrote. Hard Times was wrote during the 1800s which education was strict and disciplined. One significant aspect which Dickens uses is the presentation of the teacher and business man of the school. The business Thomas Gradgrind is a pivotal part in Dickens views. He is a dark-eyed rigid man who is a business man who has established a school in Coketown in the way which he sees fit. In the first chapter he pays a visit to his school to lecture his students in the way that he sees fit. ...read more.

Middle

So, Mr. M'Choakumchild began in his best manner. He and some one hundred and forty other schoolmasters, had been lately turned at the same time, in the same factory, on the same principles, like so many pianoforte legs." In this quote Dickens uses a metaphor to describe the schoolmaster's training is brilliant and rich with meaning. The schoolmaster is one of 140 identical, interchangeable teachers created in a teacher education factory. Dickens describes the teachers as pianoforte legs, so in others words the teachers are relatively insignificant blocks of wood shaped to prop up a complex musical instrument, which, we can infer, is the society of England. A piano is a complex musical instrument to be played by a skilled musician, which is Gradgrind and the other elite members of the country's power structure in been able to control society. The teacher is a holding for society at the right height, for the current industrial situation in the country. He went to work in this preparatory lesson, not unlike Morgiana in the Forty Thieves: looking into all the vessels ranged before him, one after another, to see what they contained. Say, good M'Choakumchild. When from thy boiling store, thou shalt fill each jar brim full by-and-by, dost thou think that thou wilt always kill outright the robber Fancy lurking within - or sometimes only maim him and distort him. This warning at the end of the chapter, suggests that if we even felt a desire to kill all fantasy in children and transforming them into soulless drones, to fill the factories. With the mention of Morgiana in the Forty Thieves this suggests that the teachers have not explored the finds of the children but poured the facts without hesitation, just like Morgiana who poured the hot oil into the pots in which the thieves were hiding. ...read more.

Conclusion

'You have one of those strollers' children in the school.' 'Cecilia Jupe, by name,' said Mr. Gradgrind, with something of a stricken look at his friend. It is obvious that Mr Bounderby shares the same the same love of fact as Gradgrind does and the same hatred for fantasy and entertainment. The two of them decide to inform Sissy's Father that she is no longer welcome at the school. 'Now I tell you what, Gradgrind!' said Mr. Bounderby. 'Turn this girl to the right about, and there's an end of it.' Just before leaving, Gradgrind addresses his younger sons Adam Smith and Malthus. These children play no part in the novel but their names are relevant to dickens's themes. Adam Smith was a Scottish economist who produced the theory that the economy is controlled by an "Invisible hand" and that employers and workers do not control the fluctuations of supply and demand. The other name of Malthus was a economist who argued that poverty is a result of overpopulation and that the poor must have smaller families in order to improve the general standard of living in society. Both of these writers addressed poverty of mind and body that accompanies industrialization Through these two names, Dickens suggests that the philosophy of fact which Gradgrind subscribes and the deleterious social effects of the Industrial revolution are inextricably related. 'It's all right now, Louisa: it's all right, young Thomas,' said Mr. Bounderby; 'you won't do so any more. I'll answer for it's being all over with father. Well, Louisa, that's worth a kiss, isn't it?' This quote at the end of the chapter sees Bounderby's obvious attraction towards Louisa, serving as the catalyst for the principal conflict in the novel. ...read more.

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