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

The Opening Chapters of Hard Times by Charles Dickens

Extracts from this document...


The Opening Chapters of Hard Times by Charles Dickens Charles Dickens was born in Kent on February 7th 1812. It was the start of the nineteenth century and the Industrial Revolution was changing many English policies, the education system being one of them. Dickens wrote "Hard Times" intending to show what was wrong in schools and how they could be improved. He uses each of the main characters to get across his different points. In this essay I will explore some of the ways in which Dicken's attitudes to education are portrayed in the first few chapters of "Hard Times". In the first chapter Dickens shows how Thomas Gradgrind is well and truly obsessed with facts. Here is a quote from one the very first few lines of the book: "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." Gradgrind goes on and on about facts for the rest of the first paragraph and every time he comes across the word fact, the "F" is capitalised just like the "G" of God is capitalised in the bible. ...read more.


On the other hand Bitzer a boy who has been at the school for a while and knows the exact definition for a horse. He described as pale, unwholesomely, light-haired and deficient. The way each character is described shows what fact does to children and how imagination and opinion should flourish. As readers we feel sorry for both children. Sissy Jupe is being humiliated and having her personal thoughts removed but Bitzer has gone pale and white with fact. He sits down with "his knuckles to his freckled forehead". Dickens uses description to present certain ideas of the characters. If Dicken's hadn't thought about each character, Gradgrind, Sissy, Bitzer and Inspector M'Choakumchild and how their appearance and features could reflect what they'd been through and what they thought the book wouldn't really make much sense and wouldn't show what Dickens thought. Here's a quote describing Sissy Jupe when Gradgrind stands her up in front of the whole class: "She courtesied again, and would have blushed deeper, if she could have blushed deeper than she had all this time." ...read more.


Readers respond to this and side with Sissy's points of view and ideas. The difference between them is emphasised even more when Gradgrind catches his very own children peeping through a whole to get a glimpse of the circus where Sissy Jupe's father works. He was "dumb with amazement" at his "disgraced family". Just after this event Gradgrind's daughter Louisa says "I was tired, father." "Of what?" inquires Gradgrind. "of everything I think". I have looked carefully at the opening of "Hard Times" and Dicken's attitudes towards education have been conveyed through characterisation, speech and narrative. As the novel progresses Gradgrind realises that a life dependent on facts will not work, while Sissy Jupe is a positive influence showing imagination and experience to be more important than facts. Despite the mocking tone of Dicken's narrative, he was trying to draw the reader's attention to the problems in the Victorian Education System. Charles put forward his concerns, attitudes and ideas in a way that they could be understood. Writing a story explaining your views is much more effective than simply telling people your point of view. His choice of language and structure helped him make this book very effective. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hard Times by Charles Dickens Thomas McKay-Smith 10ACY ...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 Writing to Inform, Explain and Describe 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 Writing to Inform, Explain and Describe essays

  1. The Jerry Show.

    She tried to maneuver her hips so that he was kissing her there, and skillfully, he resisted. She finally grabbed him by the ears and tried to move his head. He chuckled. "Don't laugh", she whispered. Muffled, he said "Until this moment, I'd always thought my ears were too damned big."

  2. Charles dickens

    This stresses the presence of evil and death. Pip is alone when he sees a woman in the dressing room in Satis House. "In an armchair, with an elbow resting on the table and her head leaning on that hand, sat the strangest lady I have ever seen, or shall ever see", "...

  1. A Good Man is Hard to Find

    She recalled exactly which road to turn off to get to it. She knew that Bailey would not be willing to lose any time looking at an old house, but the more she talked about it, the more she wanted to see it once again and find out if the little twin arbors were still standing.

  2. An inspector calls

    doings with Eva Smith, he admits a relationship only to Sheila expressing no real details, however not with an Eva Smith but instead with a Daisy Renton, the change in name suggests confusion and deliberate separation to attract no links between the very secretive family members.

  1. Hard times Snakes....specialists of deception.

    In other words she doesn't find me at the most, remotely attractive. You know what? I have been thinking to my self, everything started to go wrong the day I met Steve, also known as 'The Disease', well that's what I call him whether he likes it or not.

  2. "Gateway to heaven" - Tiananmen Square

    meaning of at the time, in a hesitant matter she said, "No matter what anyone tells you, I am your je je and I will always be." I thought she was crazy, maybe the bitter cold of that February night had gotten to her, or maybe it was fumes vacating

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