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

With Regards to the text as a whole, how do the opening two chapters of the "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens reflect the social time in which Dickens wrote?

Extracts from this document...


With Regards to the text as a whole, how do the opening two chapters of the "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens reflect the social time in which Dickens wrote? Hard Times was a novel written by Charles Dickens, born in 1812. Hard times was originally written in serial form, for a magazine called Household Words beginning on 1st April 1854. Hard times is a typical Dickens novel, but one of his shortest novels. Charles Dickens wrote Hard Times originally to improve the financial situation of the struggling magazine. Charles Dickens started work at a very young age due to his father being put in prison due to being in debt. Charles Dickens father was sent to prison when he was ten therefore Dickens went to work in a factor, he hated it, perhaps the suitable name "Hard Times" describes well the difficulties and unhappiness Dickens experienced as a boy. He wanted to go to school instead of working in the factory, but he was always interested in people with little wealth, and the novel explores the unhappiness experienced by some of the people involved in the novel. Dickens felt by writing the fictional novel he could express his thoughts, feelings and reach a wider audience. Charles Dickens eventually made money by working for the newspaper and publishing novels. ...read more.


The schoolroom is described as plain, boring and what seems a very unarming environment. "The scene was a plain, bare, monotonous vault of a schoolroom." Mr Gradgrind, the speaker, the man of facts, is described as a square looking person, with a square coat, square legs and square shoulders. This gives me the impression of a straight forward, unfriendly and un-warming person. He is made into more of an object and shape than an actual individual person meaning that he has no form of personal feeling apart from the teaching of "hard facts". He is unaccommodating and creates "Hard Times" for the pupils. Chapter Two begins with the introduction of Thomas Gradgrind, "a man of realities facts and calculations. "A man who precedes upon the principle two and two equals four, and nothing over." He always is talked about as THOMAS GRADGRIND, his full name, fact, showing he is an immediate and obedient person. At the start of chapter two, murdering the innocents, Dickens describes Gradgrind with words linked to Mathematics, a factual description to describe a factual man. Dickens then continues to describe the personality of Gradgrind, he refers to him as a "cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts and prepared to blow the regions of childhood to discharge." He uses the metaphor to relate the teaching of facts to war firing facts at the children. ...read more.


There was no form of relationship or feeling between pupils and teachers and the teachers spoke down to the children, they were seen as "little vessels." The novel focuses on educational and economic systems of Victorian England. The children were referred to as numbers making each child feel that they have no qualities. Children were taught facts; fantasy should not exist and must be removed from their heads and replaced with hard facts. Dickens uses particular names for the teachers to suit their character. Thoms Gradgrind was a man of hard facts who grinds facts into the children, hence the name Grad-grind. Mr M'Choakemchild was a man who removes fantasy from their brain and chokes them with facts, hence the name M'Chocke-m-child. The Gradgrind educational system based in the 19th century is somewhat different from education in the 20th century where each child can present their own thoughts and feelings and show their qualities. The teachers have relationships with the children and each child is referred to informally by their first name. In Gradgrinds educational system conversation between pupils and teachers was formal, dry and unarming. From the image I have gathered the times for children who were in education during the 19th century must have been some what hard, hence the name of the novel "Hard Times." GCSE English Coursework Jamie Hartley ...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. "In Hard Times Dickens presents a convincing analysis of the social problems that have ...

    We can see from this extract that this lifetime spent indoors has had a serious effect on Bitzer's physique. Sissy on the other hand, is a picture of health as a result of being allowed to indulge in imagination as a child.

  2. Does Charles Dickens Show Affection To The Working Classes Of Victorian England In Hard ...

    Mrs Sparsit is shown to be at the height of selfishness, she thinks of herself and only herself. Dickens looks for a way to contrast Mrs Sparsit with the working classes; this is where he brings in Rachael and uses her to do this.

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

    Another clue is revealed when Stephen gets bullied and called a 'sheeny' at school. 'Sheeney' is a derogatory word for a Jew thus this provokes a very concerned response from his parents. Furthermore, Stephen and his family were called the 'juice.'

  2. Imagery in Hard Times

    Mr Bounderby and Mrs Sparsit are compelled to each other by their own high position in society. "If the position I shall assume at the Bank is one that I could occupy without descending lower in the social scale," Mrs Sparsit practically fears that if she leaves Mr.

  1. In the opening of 'Hard Times,' how has Dickens written about childhood.

    The quote is talking about Gradgrind here and saying that he adds to the darkness and plainness of the classroom by coming to dictate facts to the kids. The kids in the classroom are like "little vessels then and there arranged in order, ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim."

  2. What Literary techniques does Charles Dickens employ in order to satirise the education system ...

    The education system contrasts well with the colourful and imaginative life the people want to lead. Dickens gives a very detailed description of Thomas Gradgrind. However, before we meet him, we hear him talking to the class about how and what they should be learning "Teach these boys and girls nothing but facts.

  1. 'What are the reasons which Dickens gives for the hard times described in the ...

    Utilitarianism is supposed to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people but later in the novel we see the model pupil Bitzer saying that he only cares for himself and that that is what he has been taught to do.

  2. By the end of Book 1, Dickens's criticism of Gradgrind's utilitarian thinking is apparent. ...

    was an improving party...who knew what everything they had to eat and drink was made of, and how it was imported or exported, and in what quantities, and in what bottoms, whether native or foreign, and all about it." He is highlighting how boring these conformed people are and how Louisa doesn't fit in with them.

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