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Look carefully at the opening chapters of hard Times and explore some of the ways in which Dickens' attitudes to education are presented in these chapters.

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Anna Hunter Look carefully at the opening chapters of hard Times and explore some of the ways in which Dickens' attitudes to education are presented in these chapters. Look imparticular at the following: * His presentation of the teacher/inspector * The different responses of Sissy Jupe and Bitzer and how as readers we respond to them * The ways in which Dickens uses narrative and speech in his novel In his novel, Hard Times, Dickens presents his attitude to education. His attitude in his novel shows that he thinks education is too formal and he disapproves of the way children are taught. He thinks that children should be more imaginative and have their own opinion and show their emotions. Dickens comes across as very critical towards teachers in those days. He makes his views more powerful by giving physical descriptions. He describes his characters in great detail. He presents Gradgrind as a single-minded man with little patience and little knowledge and the knowledge he does have is just facts, which have been poured into him which he, is passing onto children. He doesn't seem to know much about children or how to teach them, so he just drums useless facts into their heads. It seems like Gradgrind wants everyone to be like him and that in his eyes, a good education is the most important thing in life. ...read more.


"Knock the wind out of common sense." This suggests that the Inspector must be very big and strong as this is an impossible thing to do. I also think the Inspector likes things done his way. "...fall upon him neatly." The word 'neatly' suggests that the Inspector likes things done quickly, efficiently and correctly. Dickens also uses alliteration to put his views across and to describe the characters. "A mighty man" is an example of this and again suggests a great deal of strength in the Inspector; it could also suggest that he is a bully. The word 'mighty' leads me to believe that the Inspector thinks he is superior to others. "Do you ever see horses walking up and down the sides of rooms in reality-in fact? Do you?" This shows the similarity between Gradgrind and the Inspector, both having no imagination and both being men of facts. Because he is saying 'in reality' this makes me think that the Inspector didn't really read any fairytales and that he had no fun and he doesn't have an imagination and because, now he has a good job, that no children should be allowed to have a good time with their imagination. Dickens carries on to present his attitude to education through the descriptions of Sissy and Bitzer and their responses when spoke to. ...read more.


Dickens uses narrative and speech to put his views across. He makes Gradgrind very formal by his speech calling Sissy by her full name is a brought up formally. This makes Gradgrind seem an unpleasant person, as he is strict and hard on the children. Dickens presents the circus folk as the opposite of Gradgrind and the Inspector. "Its all the same to me what he is or what he is not, whether in English or whether in French." This suggests that the circus folk aren't bothered about having a good education and about how they speak. The way they talk make them sound casual young, caring, colourful, humorous and without a care in the world. The fact that the circus folk make the readers laugh makes me think that you don't need an education full of facts and that you can have a fun, good life with an imagination. Throughout Hard Times, Dickens is trying to get his views about education across by using similes, metaphors, alliteration, physical descriptions and language. He is trying to say that children should be taught with imagination and emotion and have the right to their own opinion as children who are taught the facts may grow up demeanful and warped, whereas children with imagination are nicer people, for example Sissy. I think Dickens' attitude to education is very clear to see, as he is extremely critical towards teachers and education. ...read more.

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