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

What impression does Dickens give us of Coketown and its people in Hard Times?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What impression does Dickens give us of Coketown and its people in Hard Times? Firstly, Dickens' crude choice of names for the characters reveals much about their individual personalities. 'Gradgrind', the schoolteacher, epitomises Dickens' disapproval of his contemporary educational system, which was based on the principle that 'facts are knowledge'. The name metaphorically suggests that he is grinding down his pupils' imagination and replacing it with facts in their memory. The name also holds connotations of the gradual, repetitive motion of grinding which mirrors the dull, repetitive manner in which he teaches his pupils. Also, the name 'Gradgrind' is composed of hard sounding syllables, giving the impression he has an unfriendly nature and is unapproachable. Gradgrind's bland name suggests that he himself has been ground down by the nature of the society he now promotes. 'The M'Choakumchild school' emphasises the hated impression of school in the nineteenth century. Corporal punishment is frequently seen in Dickens' contemporary schools and here, the name holds exaggerated implications, to the extent of death. ...read more.

Middle

The connotations are that Coketown is not a safe place to be and that it is full of danger. Dickens goes on to emphasise the devastation caused by the industrial age, saying 'It was a town of red brick, or of brick what would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it'. This emphasises the domination of industry over Coketown, suggesting that the smoke has affected the physical appearance of the town. Also, the fact that the smoke does not 'allow' this to change suggests that the smoke has some sort of control over Coketown and that even if the people wanted rid of it they could not do so, emphasising the necessity of industry in Coketown. Unfortunately for the inhabitants, Coketown is fuelled by industry and would therefore be nothing without it. To exaggerate how unpleasant and oppressing the effects of industry are, Dickens makes use of the different senses. For example, the description of the smoke and ash from the industrial work covering the buildings. ...read more.

Conclusion

Coketown only contains that which is necessary to allow it to run, it is a utilitarian town. The 'fancy' has been removed from Coketown. Dickens continues to criticise the ways of nineteenth century society, saying '... the jail might have been the infirmary, the infirmary might have been the jail...' Dickens' use of juxtaposition creates a dramatic comparison as the two buildings are effectively opposites. Coketown is illustrative of all towns in the nineteenth century, in Dickens' view. Through the exaggerated description of uniformity, he is telling how the society in which he lived was in fact a very tedious and unpleasant one. Throughout the text, Dickens skilfully uses key words and phrases to continue the emphasis he is placing on the uniformity of Coketown. He uses forceful language to develop the point being made, 'you saw nothing in Coketown but what was severely workful'. Other key images with further meaning are also used to create emphasis and provoke thought from the audience, 'in severe characters of black and white'. The 'black and white' are used to represent the blandness of Coketown as well as emphasise the importance of fact. Georgia Reeve 1 ...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. Compare and Contrast Dickens's picture of Coketown with Lodge's introduction to the industrial environment ...

    Most of the mechanized account and in particular p.20 creates such an impression on the reader to think this. Dickens believed that this was a brutal world where everything is "measured by figures" in a Gradgrind gospel of "Fact". He has written a satire against the foundation and the constitutions of Industrial Society.

  2. Childhood is an integral theme in both Hard Times and God of Small Things

    Dickens' descriptions are often quite like his overdone characters ("A lawn and a garden and an infant avenue, all ruled straight like a botanical account book") with similes used to create a comic picture in the readers mind, but Arundhati Roy chooses to use far more realism in her placements,

  1. Y10 English Literature Coursework

    When Gradgrind finds out that her father works with horses, he tells Sissy not to talk about it anymore because he thinks it may influence the children to be creative. Sissy Jupe comes from a circus and a circus revolves around fantasy, trickery and imagination.

  2. Compare and contrast the way in which particular aspects of education are presented in ...

    Pupils learning in this environment would find it extremely boring. No encouragement is given to exercise imagination. Billy Casper's school is similar to Hard Times' equivalent. Each is too plain, dull and lifeless. Dickens names his fictional area 'Coketown', which says a lot about the image he is trying to portray.

  1. analysis of hard time by charles dickens

    As is to be expected from Dickens, the names of the characters are emblematic of their personality; usually, Dickens' characters can be described as innocent, villainous or unaware of the moral dilemmas of the story that surrounds them. The characters' names are almost always an immediate indication of where the character fits on Dickens' moral spectrum.

  2. How appropriate is the title of Frayn's text Spies? Within Frayn's enigmatic and richly ...

    Hayward in their hideout amongst the privet bush. They follow her around and record her daily routine in their logbook. 'Keith crosses out BIRDS and writes LOGBOOK SECRIT.' Keeping a logbook shows how seriously they take this game of espionage, as they are very keen to contribute to the war effort.

  1. Examine Dickens' presentation of the education system in 'Hard Times'.

    Dickens also uses significant names to manipulate the impression the reader gets of the characters. 'Gradgrind' implies hardness and that he is grinding at the mill of knowledge; grinding factual information into children. Mr M'Choakumchild's name suggests he chokes the children's imagination, rams facts down their throats until they choke.

  2. What does Dickens have to tell us about education in Hard Times and how ...

    But what Gradgrind doesn't realise is that all children are different and need to be brought up different ways, which is what Dickens is suggesting to the reader. But it could also be argued that the utilitarian way didn't work for Gradgrind, Gradgrind just thought it worked.

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