Dickens's Attitude To Education

The sample essay on Dickens’s Attitude To Education deals with a framework of research-based facts, approaches and arguments concerning this theme. To see the essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, read on.

Exploring some of the ways in which Dickens’s Attitudes to Education are presented in the early Chapters of Hard Times In Charles Dickens’s industrial novel ‘Hard Times’ written in 1854, we see various attitudes towards the topic of ‘education’ from several different characters in the early chapters of the novel.

In this essay, I am going to explore Dickens’s attitudes towards education, compared to those in the novel, and how they are presented in these chapters. In the first chapter, Dickens seems to give an ‘over the top’ description of Mr.

Gradgrind, using repetative, monotonous, mimetic language, through which he shows us that Mr. Gradgrind’s attitude towards education is purely based on facts. This can be seen at the beginning of the first chapter when Mr.

Gradgrind says, “Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life… Stick to Facts, sir! ” One can see facts are important to Mr. Gradgrind as the word ‘Facts’ has a capital letter most of the time, no matter where it is in a sentence. However, Dickens does not describe Mr. Gradgrind using factual language.

He uses imaginative and descriptive language involving negative words. He says, “… his very neckcloth, trained to take him by the throat with an unaccommodating grasp, like a stubborn fact, as it was, – all helped the emphasis.

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” The negative words in this sentence such as ‘stubborn’ and ‘unaccommodating’ suggests that Dickens does not like Mr. Gradgrind’s attitude towards education and has a totally different opinion. When Sissy Jupe is unable to describe a horse, Mr. Gradgrind embarrasses her because her fathers a horsebreaker.

In Hard Times By Charles Dickens, How Do Bitzer And Sissy Differ?

When Bitzer is asked the same question he comes out with a whole list of facts on horses and impresses Mr. Gradgrind. Readers may feel some sympathy for Sissy as she is put under pressure and she may be new to ‘facts’. However, some may get the impression that Sissy is not as intelligent as Bitzer as he produces facts as if he’s a huge textbook. I feel that Dickens is not ‘mocking’ Mr. Gradgrind’s approach to education, but he is implying that he is against his technique of teaching and feels he could improve it.

The inspector is presented in a very different manner compared to Mr. Gradgrind. We are not even told his name. We know him as the “third gentleman” and that he’s a government officer. On the first line of the paragraph, we are told that he’s a “mighty man”, and Dickens emphasises this point with the use of positive and hard-hitting words. I think he’s indicating the ‘third gentleman’ is not mighty in a physical manner, but mighty in character and power. He can do virtually anything he wants to. If he wants to shut down a school then he will. Dickens portrays the inspector as a boxer with the use of metaphors.

He describes him as, “… a professed pugilist; always in training, always with a system to force down the general throat like a bolus”. He presents him as an “ugly customer”, someone who’s willing to take on anyone at anytime with confidence and determined to defeat them, just so he can be successful. He also writes, “he always fought All England”. I think this means the inspector defeated his opponents by abiding to the national code of rules. He did not do anything that was wrong. He was so powerful that he could “knock the wind out of common sense”!

He doesn’t seem to like common sense much, as it is too fancy for him, as one can see in the conversation between the inspector and Sissy. The inspector asks the class, “Would you paper a room with representations of horses? ” As most of the class replies incorrectly, he states “Do you ever see horses walking up and down the sides of you room in reality – in fact? … what you don’t see in fact; you are not to have anywhere, what you don’t have in fact”. Again the inspector, like Mr. Gradgrind, is obsessed with facts and hates the word ‘fancy’ full stop.

He likes to stick to facts. He is very literal minded yet imaginative in coming up with such examples just to prove his point. To test the class again, the inspector asks the children, “Suppose you were going to carpet a room. Would you use a carpet having a representation of flowers upon it? ” Most of class replies no as they have learnt something from the previous example. However a few people say yes, among them Sissy Jupe. When asked why she replies, “… I am very fond of flowers”.

And have people walking over them with heavy boots? ” Sissy Jupe using a bit of common sense replies, “it wouldn’t hurt them, sir. They wouldn’t crush and wither if you please, sir… ” Dickens portrays Sissy as sensible person who actually has some common sense. She’s a representation of common sense and speaks up for it. One seems to get the feeling in this conversation, Dickens is on Sissy’s side and is not fond of the attitude of the inspector, and Mr. Gradgrind, towards education. The inspector seems to be quite satire and takes the topic of fact a bit too far.

One can see that Sissy likes ‘fancy’ whereas the inspector frowns upon the idea and likes to stick to facts. There is a lot of friction between the two topics and the inspector forces it into the children’s brains that they shouldn’t fancy! Mr. M’Choakumchild is again presented in a slightly different manner to that of the inspector. We are told more about his knowledge rather than his power and his appearances. Dickens writes, “He and some one hundred and forty other schoolmasters, had been lately turned at the same time, in the same factory…

” Here, Dickens is describing Mr. M’Choakumchild as a mass produced object from a factory with all the necessary features (i. e. all of the subjects mentioned). Dickens is rather more implicit and feels that if Mr. M’Choakumchild had learnt a little less then he could have turned out as a better teacher than he is. I think that overall, Dickens is not satisfied with any of the teacher’s approach and attitude towards education. He feels that education should involve common sense, and without common sense, education is just a bundle of facts, which are hammered into your head.

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Dickens's Attitude To Education. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-dickenss-attitudes-education/

Dickens's Attitude To Education
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