Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy countries, sheds hoofs too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in mouth… ‘ Bitzer can give all these facts about horses but if you asked him to ride one or to interact with a horse he wouldn’t know what to do, while Cecelia, who apparently knows nothing about horses, would be able to ride a horse and handle it in the proper way.
This shows that by teaching children nothing but facts they are not getting a real life experience. Another ironic moment in Hard Times in when Mr. Gradgrind asks Cecilia what her father does as a job. Her response that he belongs to the horse-riding is not good enough for sir and he changes the job to that of a veterinary surgeon. ‘What is your father? He belongs to the horse-riding… he is a veterinary surgeon… ‘ Cecilia’s father is not a veterinary surgeon but a horse trainer for the circus.
Mr.Gradgrind made this up so that it sounded better, so it is not a fact. The teacher who has been filling these children with facts and squishing out any imaginative thought, who has been demanding they live with nothing but pure facts in there head has come out with a statement of pure fancy. Throughout the book Dickens uses a common story to base his exaggerated metaphor on, he uses the story of Morgiana and the forty thieves, when the oil is pored onto the thieves.
He uses this to create an allusion.
Though in Hard Times the children are the replacement for the thieves and the oil are the facts that they are being taught, being relentlessly forced and poured into them up to the brim. ‘Imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim… looking into all the vessels before him, one after another, to see what they contained… ‘ Dickens uses this allusion to show that the school was like a jail where you were forced to learn all these facts until you were fill to the brim.
The children are been filled with facts in order to drive out any imagination they have left. Dickens also tells us of the consequences that the children may face if they continue with this teaching regime. To conclude, in the opening chapters of Hard Times Charles dickens has satirised the education system by creating an exaggerated allusion of the way of teaching, almost to a point of ridicule but at the same time exposing the truth behind the education.
This leads us, the readers, to believe that the system is wrong and inhumane to children. This is because they are suppressing the Childs imagination, a thing of great importance and opportunity. However Hard Times was written to humour the Victorians, but Dickens still manages to express his opinion and change the readers opinion, to feel the education system is doing unjust to the children in lacking major parts of a Childs mental development and not letting them reach there full prudential.