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"With careful attention to 2-3 episodes in Hard Times, show how Dickens presents and criticises the Gradgrindian view of education".

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Introduction

"With careful attention to 2-3 episodes in Hard Times, show how Dickens presents and criticises the Gradgrindian view of education". "Now what I want is facts... Facts alone are wanted in life... This is the principles on which I bring up my own children." In the opening paragraph of the novel Thomas Gradgrind gives us an uncompromising and utilitarian view of what education and childhood should be. Dickens shows us that by the end of the novel the idea of education has flaws and causes grief and heartache to Gradgrind and his family. The two main characters that promote this system of education are Mr Bounderdy and Mr Gradgrind. "Square forefinger... square wall of a forehead... square coat, square legs, square shoulders... Squarely pointing with his square forefinger" this humorous exaggerated description of Mr Gradgrind by Dickens in the first two chapters of the novel gives a view of the person that mainly installs this system of education. ...read more.

Middle

By Sleary the circus owner's speech "People must be entertained" I found that Sleary and Sissy are in a world that spirit, imagination, wonder and compassion-"fancy" in other words. Dickens uses this to show how dry and soul destroying the "industrial system of facts" employed by Gradgrind is. Also giving us other symbols of how life with facts will therefore have dreariness "bare windows of intensely white washed room" as the class room is described. Then in the same paragraph moves on to "sissy, being at the corner of a row on the sunny side, came in for the beginning of a sunbeam, of which Bitzer, caught the end" this is a great example of the use of symbols. Showing good from bad as Dickens then states "the boy was so light-eyed and light-haired, that the self-same rays appeared to draw out of him what little colour he ever possessed" showing the difference of the two characters to be that there is hope for Sissy. ...read more.

Conclusion

She has kept it all bottled up inside as she had been programmed to do in her earlier life, but her program has gone back to its foundational settings to revile the truth about how the "industrial system of facts" has some serious flaws about it. From the second chapter of the first book Dickens has tried to show us using symbols of the light shining upon Sissy as he wanted us to see the light which was fancy from the dark side of facts. This is hard for Gradgrind to accept but in the end he does so and this also helps to see that Mr Bounderby is bound to this system with no moral capacity to change where as it is now different for Gradgrind now that this moment came around. Dickens has brought over symbols relative to the present day life has to have a balance of fact and opinion witch was the main idea brought over by the book. ...read more.

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