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

Using the first two chapters of Hard Times explore how Dickens shows his dislike to the education system

Extracts from this document...


Using the first two chapters of 'Hard Times' explore how Dickens shows his dislike to the education system I will write an essay telling you about the way in which Charles Dickens disapproved of the education system, in the 19th Century. Dickens was a hopeful, courageous, imaginative and intelligent man and showed this through his mind blowing novels which include Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations and many more. It was to be in the eighteen hundreds that the government introduced a reform in the education system, this would include all working class children the right to go to school. Dickens gladly agreed that this was the right thing, but what Dickens didn't agree with was the utilitarian system that involved teaching children nothing but facts. Dickens believed this was ridding the children of an imagination, something Dickens thought had to be endorsed in order for a good education, and he shows this in the novel 'Hard Times'. Finally I will be focusing on why Dickens disliked the 19th Century education system, I will be using the first two chapters of 'Hard Times'. From reading the first two chapters it is quite obvious to the reader that Dickens is purposely using the word 'facts'. ...read more.


Gradgrind is portrayed as an insolent man in chapter 2, Gradgrind says 'Girl number 20... who is that girl'. From calling someone a number rather than a name shows the teachers are not treating the children like humans but like robots, just like the teachers are and how they act. Doing this is expelling the children of an imagination and being disrespectful, and this lowers his reputation from myself. The description of the teachers is as imaginative as the teachers names themselves. In the first chapter Dickens describes the voice of Gradgrind 'The speaker's voice was inflexible, dry and dictatorial'. 'Inflexible' is a stiff, hard word, 'dry' is a brittle, tasteless word and 'dictatorial' is an overbearing, strong word. The 3 words are good ingredients for boring imagination and that's what the teachers want to see. Dickens describes Gradgrinds head. Dickens says 'The speakers hair which bristled on the skirts of his bald head, a plantation of firs to keep the wind from its shining surface, all covered with knobs like the crust of a plum pie'. The 'bristled hair' hair is telling us of Gradgrinds callous, firm, rough edged character, the 'plantation of firs' is the containing of all the facts inside his head, his head is like ...read more.


I get a warmth and can imagine innocence, cuteness and prettiness from Sissy. Dickens purposely uses strong, effective words to make the reader feel like this. 'Lustrous' is a word that can get the deepest thoughts out of the reader. Sissy has not yet had her imagination banished by facts and that's why she seems much brighter. In chapter 2, we are introduced to Bitzer. Bitzer's description is as follows 'The boy (Bitzer) was so light eyed and light haired that the self same rays appeared to draw out of him what little colour he ever possessed'. I can see that the reason behind Bitzer's dull look id down to him being drained of his imagination by Gradgrind. Dickens creates Bitzer as he is the opposite of Sissy and he has had his imagination banished. The title of the novel is 'Hard Times', from reading and reviewing the first two chapters I can see why Dickens chose to call the novel 'Hard Times' as this illustrates exactly what the children were going through. I believe Dickens chose to write 'Hard Times' to get his point of view across. And from what he hoped he achieved and that's why 21st Century schools are different. My essay illustrates what Dickens was saying. Finally I agree with what Dickens wrote, he wrote a enthusiastic novel that proved the utilitarian system wrong. ...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?

    any emotion 'I hate m life Lou, and I hate everything but you.' Gradgrind has never let his children think for themselves, 'Louisa, never wonder'. Dickens is showing the reader that Gradgrind has never let sentiments or affections grow inside his children - everything has to be settled by facts and figures.

  2. By the end of Book 1, Dickens's criticism of Gradgrind's utilitarian thinking is apparent. ...

    He saw nothing of it." Chapter 15, "Father and Daughter" is the main example of them relating to one another. The opening of the chapter sets up a sinister mood, "a deadly statistical clock in it, which measured every second with a beat like a rap upon a coffin lid."

  1. How does Dickens write about Childhood In the Opening two chapters of Hard Times?

    Dickens makes 'Facts' a proper noun in Gradgrind's speech, making the reader understand the teacher considers 'Fact' an individual area of study. Gradgrind's name grabs our attention straight away, 'grad' refers to the pupils but as graduates, it also concerns us with the different stages of our lives.

  2. What does Hard Times show about Dickens attitude towards education?

    The three months he spent apart from his family were highly traumatic for Dickens and his job was miserable. Because of his horrible time working as a child, Dickens wished to campaign for the reform of working conditions.

  1. Key Question: How does Charles Dickens show his dislike of the education system in ...

    The first chapter named "The One Thing Needful" has little narrative content but it paints an intense dramatic picture of the harsh teaching system and the mechanical figure of the Speaker who is more of an object than a person.

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

    so dark-eyed and dark haired", "the boy was so light-eyed and light haired". Because Sissy represents Dickens's view of Romanticism and Bitzer is the product of a very strict and straight forward education and it seems his imagination has been drained because of this, this suggests that if the two

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

    He also states his mouth is 'hard set', by saying this Dickens implies that Gradgrind's mouth is inflexible, set like concrete and all that comes out of it is bitter and objective sentences full of facts. It gives the impression he is a stern man; controllable and bossy, which is the point Dickens is trying to get across.

  2. Hard Times was one of Dickens novels that focuses mainly on the education system ...

    Therefore this also suggests the pupils attending the school represent prisoners- influenced by the oppressive rules and watchful eye of Gradgrind. Their order is even arranged like prisoners, in a regular pattern, rows spaced evenly, closely monitored and not allowed to move.The rooms consist of white-washed walls, stript and bare revealing the actuality industry at the time.

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