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Title: How does Dickens present the education system in Hard Times?

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COURSEWORK ON HARD TIMES Title: How does Dickens present the education system in Hard Times? How does this reflect life in Coketown? Hard Times reveals Dickens' increased interest in class issues and social observations. Dickens was extremely concerned with the miserable lives of the poor and working classes in the England of his day, and Hard Times is one of several of his novels that address these social problems directly. On hearing the name, Hard times, an imagination of people going through a difficult and hard way of life is revealed. This novel also reminds us of the hard times in the Victorian Times when children did not go to school; when education was varied according to social class- factory like schools for the poor and private tutors for the rich. Those that were able to have the so-called education suffered in the process. They were forced to learn a lot by heart because everything was formal and mechanical. They were put through a factory-like process, hoping to produce children that were possessed of nothing but facts. Not even a sense of fancy and imagination. They were educated to get the basics of life because they were going to be pushed into the outside world at a very young age of 12 and above or even below. ...read more.


She's identified with 'fancy'. She admits that she would carpet a room with representations of flowers because she's 'fond' of them. She said: 'if you please, sir, I am very fond of flowers.' She goes on to explain her reason but is taught by Mr. M'Choakumchild that she must not fancy and that she is 'to be in all things regulated and governed by facts' When she was asked to give her definition of a horse, due to her sense of imagination, and shyness, she couldn't. This does not mean that she doesn't know 'one of the commonest animals' but that she can't give the full definition in 'facts'. However, Bitzer (who has the name of a horse and a name which tells that he has bits of knowledge) is capable of defining a horse using biological classifications: 'Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring, in marshly countries, shed hoops, too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in mouth.' Dickens is just beginning to make his point that education requires more than the learning and memorizing of facts. Dickens presents Bitzer as a boy of fact as Mr. Gradgrind although his physical descriptions are the opposite of Sissy's. ...read more.


Gradgrind, who personally possess different views of the education system. Although Sissy is a child when compared to Mr. Gradgrind, we can see that she believes that everything in the world should be dealt with, in a mind of personal belief (which in her case is fancy). Mr. Gradgrind's view of reality is so authentic that he won't accept anything outside its realm. That is why Dickens describes him as a 'man of realities' and a 'man of calculations and facts.' In my opinion, Mr. Gradgrind is a man that takes the beauty out of things and people. Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. M'Choakumchild have influenced Bitzer. That is why Bitzer appears to be 'pale' and 'cold' from Dickens description. Although the terms he used in the definition of a horse are correct, personally, it doesn't reveal the beauty and grace of a horse. It rather pictures a horse as an unattractive, obnoxious animal. In my opinion, I think Dickens has successfully made known his point of view by the words he used to describe people like Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. M'Choakumchild. By describing Mr.Gradgrind as 'a galvanizing apparatus' and as someone who has been 'charged with a grim mechanical substitute...' we can tell that he's not pleased with the genre of educational system in which the children were taught. By such description of these people that were regarded as government workers, we can tell that he's criticising the work of the government. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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