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In conclusion one of Dickens' purposes of writing 'Hard Times' was to make a social comment about the idea of utilitarianism in the teaching system

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Charles Dickens was a Victorian, sardonic writer who wrote social criticisms about Victorian England. In the first few chapters of 'Hard Times' Charles Dickens is criticizing in particular the education system. Charles Dickens is showing what the curriculum is like through the eyes of Mr. Gradgrind and how the children would react through the eyes of Sissy Jupe and Bitzer. Charles Dickens also uses narrative and speech in different ways in these chapters. Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth on the 7th of February 1812. Dickens didn't have an easy life. He was the 2nd of eight children and his father was imprisoned for debt. At the age of 12 Dickens was sent to work in a blacking factory. Shortly after the rest of Dickens' family were imprisoned except from Dickens himself. Dickens received very little formal education and taught himself shorthand. Dickens became a reporter of parliamentary debate for the Morning Chronicle. Dickens then began to publish periodicals in the paper. He started writing for the Pipwick Papers which soon became popular. Dickens then started to write novels such as 'Oliver Twist', 'Nicholas Nickleby' and 'The Old Curiosity Shop'. Dickens had his first setback when 'Martin Chuzzlewit' turned out to be unpopular. He then wrote 'A Christmas Carol' to re-establish his popularity. Dickens describes the teaching of facts and the importance of facts through Mr. Gradgrind. Mr. Gradgrind only wants the children to be taught facts. "Teach these boys and girls nothing but facts. Facts alone are wanted in life". ...read more.


When she tells Mr. Gradgrind that her name is Sissy Jupe he doesn't permit her to call herself Sissy. "Sissy is not a name,"..."Don't call yourself Sissy call yourself Cecilia". Mr. Gradgrind also says that Sissy's father has no business in calling her Sissy. Mr. Gradgrind also asks her difficult questions and just springs then upon her when she isn't expecting it for example he says "Give me your definition of a horse". Sissy is not allowed to talk about her father's job when she tells Mr. Gradgrind that her father belongs to the horse riding which is another name for the circus. Mr. Gradgrind waves off this response "we don't want to know anything about that here". This is because Mr. Gradgrind sees the circus as non-factual therefore he feels it serves no purpose in life. Mr. Gradgrind then practically re-writes her background by trying to change her father's job to make it sound better for example "Very well he is a veterinary surgeon, a farriery and a horse-breaker". She really has a bad first day and the thing that shows it is when Charles Dickens talks about her blushing "She curtseyed again, and would have blushed deeper, if she could have blushed more than she had blushed all this time". In comparison to Sissy, Bitzer seems to have a more successful time at school. Bitzer has obviously been at the school longer as he seems to know a lot of facts and the system. ...read more.


This is called an extended metaphor. An example of an extended metaphor is "to the little pitchers before him" he also refers to this image later on "looking into all the vessels ranged before him". This is referring to the children as being little empty jugs that need filling with facts. Another image that Dickens writes is about Mr. Gradgrind being square and canon like. "Square coat, square legs, square shoulders," and "he seemed a kind of canon loaded to the muzzle with facts". This is a good description as you can just imagine Mr. Gradgrind shooting all these facts into the children and the children being like little jugs in a line ready for Gradgrind to fill them with facts. He uses a lot of repetition for the images and keeps mentioning the images throughout the story. In conclusion one of Dickens' purposes of writing 'Hard Times' was to make a social comment about the idea of utilitarianism in the teaching system. It is the teaching of facts excluding imagination, fantasy and understanding. This type of teaching is supported by Mr. Gradgrind, the school inspector and the teacher (Mr. M'Choakumchild). 'Hard Times' is a criticism of teaching facts to young fresh minds which produces flawed characters for example Louisa, Tom and Bitzer. Dickens is trying to say that education should produce well rounded humans that are ready to take an active part in society. Dickens has succeeded in doing this in the opening chapters even though the kind of language he uses is difficult to read as it is different to modern day language. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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