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What does Dickens have to say about Education and Industrialism in the Opening Chapters of "Hard Times"

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Introduction

What does Dickens have to say about Education and Industrialism in the Opening Chapters of "Hard Times" " Hard times" is a novel about people who lived in English factory towns at the height of the industrial revolution. In the opening chapters, Dickens shows the brutally- practical philosophy of utilitarianism could influence life in schools and factories. He shows how pupils are "educated" in a school run by Thomas Gradgrind, and then goes on to describe the fictional town of Coketown, and the appalling conditions its factory workers had to endue. The novel "Hard Times" is divided into three books, the first of, which is called "sowing." Dickens calls the first book this to refer on the one hand to plants: how they are treated when going affects their development; for example, if you leave a plant in a cellar with no water its not going to be as healthy as a well looked after plant. ...read more.

Middle

The chapter starts with the speaker from chapter whose name is "Thomas Gradgrind." He describes the character's attitude with no verbs. This gives the impression to the reader the man is too business like to bother with verbs for the tone is serious, crisp and business like. "With a rule and a pair of scales and the multiplication table always in his pocket, Sir, ready o weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case simple arithmetic," is a quotation from the first paragraph where Dickens is being ironic, for he thinks human nature, isn't simple enough to be measured scientifically because there is a needs for imagination and sympathy. Soon afterwards, Dickens uses alliteration ("to be filled so full of facts,") to suggest the children are like a sponge that just absorb the facts forced upon them. He also shows Gradgrind calling a girl not by her name but "Girl twenty," which suggests to the reader that a name characterizes ...read more.

Conclusion

Dickens has used the same method as with Mr. Gradgrind of the name representing the characters personality and attitude. Mr. M'Choakumchild seems to the reader, to choke the imagination out of the children. Dickens suggests this by the repetition of the word "same" as in the opening paragraph in chapter 1 of "facts", "had been lately turned at the same time, in the same factory on the same principles," when describing Mr. M'Choakumchild. The words "in the same factory," also implying they are the same products and are not treated as individuals, "like so many pianoforte legs," Dickens simile suggests the dry, "wooden" teaching in Gradgrind's school. When he characterizes Mr. M'Choakumchild's appearance he uses phrases like "his ten chilled fingers," to also mean cold and unfeeling, furthermore, a phrase like "his stony way," to indicate lack of moral warmth. Dickens adds a dire authorial comment a paragraph later:- "ah, rather overdone, M'Choakumchild. If he had only learnt a little less how infinitely better, he might have taught much more!" to convey the idea that if he had become a better human being than he would have been a better teacher. ...read more.

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