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What have you learned about the educational system in Victorian England from the opening chapters of Hard Times and first 10 chapters of Jane Eyre?

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What have you learned about the educational system in Victorian England from the opening chapters of Hard Times and first 10 chapters of Jane Eyre? There were many factors that influenced the educational system in Victorian times. They included religious beliefs, gender, class and the industrial revolution. These are explored in Dickens's Hard Times and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Dickens is particularly critical of the standards of education at the time of the Victorian period and the methods of teaching employed. There were many different types of schools including "ragged schools" which suffered a lack of qualified teaching staff, church schools and middle class fee-paying schools. It is no wonder the standards varied considerably. The experience of being educated in the Victorian period was also affected by gender. Girls were thought to be less intellectually able than boys. This is reflected in the fact that Charlotte Bronte, like her sisters had to publish their novels under male pen names, such as Currer Bell. The novel Jane Eyre begins when Jane is living at Gateshead. In material terms Jane is very well looked after there as she is fed and clothed, however, she is treated separately from the children at Gateshead and is not spoilt. ...read more.


John Reed, Jane's cousin, has been educated before at a school. In Victorian England not many lower class children had the chance to go to school; some didn't even know what school was! Obviously this is not the case with John Reed as he comes from a well off family. He has been sent off to a private boarding school where he does not do well. Education means little to him and he has no self discipline due to being spoilt by his mother. This shows how selfish John Reed really is because many lower class children would have welcomed the opportunity of going to school. Jane has only ever heard of school through what Bessie tells her in stories. Bessie as a servant in the house at Gateshead has only heard of school from others and can only tell Jane what she has learnt from working for different families in the past. If children in working class families ever got the chance to go to school, generally the schools were of very poor quality, often with teachers who had little or no proper education themselves. ...read more.


This, in fact, is very untrue as John Reed is quite well and a very robust character. When Jane finally moves to Lowood institution she finds it hard to adjust to the lack of materials there. There are hardships at Lowood. These include the lack of food for the children and lack of clothing and heating in the school. The children also have to abide by a strict routine and be well disciplined. Examples of this are when the porridge is burnt at breakfast. When Jane is sent to Lowood School she is very keen to learn and please Miss Temple whom she admires. Although the conditions at Lowood are not good ( poor diet, inadequate clothing etc) and discipline is very harsh, Jane still preservers .All her efforts to become an educated young lady are almost destroyed when Mr Brocklehurst announces to everyone that Jane is a liar and makes her stand on a stool as punishment. It is only through the support of Helen Burns and Miss Temple that Jane survives the humiliation and continues her education. She does in fact become a teacher at the school when she is old enough and later a governess to Mr Rochester's ward, Adele. Jennifer Morris ...read more.

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