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What do you learn about the Education System though the book, “Hard Times” by Charles Dickens

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Introduction

What do you learn about the Education System though the book, "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens The Collins Gem English dictionary tells us that to educate is to teach; provide schooling for, therefore education is very important for life. The process of education not only makes us academically prepared for the wide-world but teaches us variable life lessons that we will need for the development from childhood to adulthood. Therefore, a good education is vital for development of oneself. "Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life." "Hard Times" opens with a comical yet frightening lecture on the purpose of education. Significantly, the speech is not made by the schoolmaster, but by a businessman who underlines each point on the schoolmaster's sleeve, giving the impression that he is lecturing the instructor more than the students. These opening lines of "Hard Times" are in direct contrast to what Dickens believed, but it was the established teachings during this period. Even the title of the second chapter, "Murdering the Innocents," is Dickens' assessment of this soulless, fact based system of education that he opposed so much. ...read more.

Middle

It makes one think how close Gradgrind's teaching methods were to his real life. Dickens' described Thomas Gradgrind, the typical teacher at that time as; "A cannon, prepared to blow them [children] clean out of the regions of childhood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus too" Dickens employs two powerful images in this paragraph to illustrate the destructive nature of Gradgrind's brand of schooling. In the first, Gradgrind is portrayed as a weapon firing facts whose purpose is to "blow [the children] clean out of the regions of childhood." Dickens makes the weapon a cannon which makes the assault that much more brutal. In the second, Gradgrind is a machine -- a "galvanizing apparatus" -- and the children are partially assembled products who are having one part, their "tender young imaginations" replaced by another, a "grim mechanical substitute." This also relates to the title of the chapter, 'Murdering the Innocents' Thomas Gradgrind also numbers his pupils, "Girl number twenty" Again, Dickens emphasizes how much this style of education depersonalizes the children by giving them numbers. At the end of Chapter 1 he referred to the children as vessels "then and there arranged in order," he must have been referring to this numbering system. ...read more.

Conclusion

Young Gradgrinds were 'all models' they were the perfect products in the eyes of Gradgrind of his own home-schooling. "No little Gradgrind had ever seen a face in the moon," Nursery-rhymes and non-factual topics played no role in his children's' lives, they were unnecessary. Although the Gradgrind children both Louisa and Thomas were brought up in a fact based environment, Louisa seems to become knowledgeable of 'fictional' life; the circus at which her father is appalled. The circus; a symbol of rich, colourful life is a direct contrast to a 'life of facts.' Perhaps Dickens is using Louisa as a symbol for those who despised the way children were treated and taught in the Victorian era. Through my reading of 'Hard Times' and taking Dickens' outlook on the Victorian education into view, I have concluded that the schooling of that era with the Utilitarian philosophy was harmful to the development of the children's minds and personalities. Children cannot evolve with the 'facts and facts alone are wanted in life' attitude thus was not the way to educate children. Dickens' demonstrates his disliking of the Education system though the novel 'Hard Times' ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Jonny Goodfellow 12M Charles Dickens Coursework Diana Press ...read more.

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