How Does Charles Dickens Treat The Theme Of Education In His Novel Hard Times?

2401 words - 10 pages

When we look at education today, we see more than just reading, writing and solving numerous calculations, sometimes providing more than one answer for a question. Your opinions and views actually count for something and are appreciated. We have so many resources, culture and trips bought into education; that children can actually look forward to coming to school, each teacher having various ways of teaching, each pupil having a different way of comprehending and learning.The novel 'Hard Times' is set in the nineteenth century. It was a time where education did not have the developments as we have nowadays. It was not compulsory for all ages and it was offered to the wealthier, more than the working class who did go to school, but the need of children working was more important, in the eyes of some people.In this essay I am going to explore the representation of education of that era, how Charles Dickens portrays it, and what part it played in the characters lives. Can education mould you into who you are?Hard Times is set in an industrial fictional town called Coketown, in the North of England.Dickens represents education as an important factor of life; what you learn as a child, lives through you, to the day you die. It's hard to change habits you develop in your youth."Now what I want is facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but facts" states Gradgrind. It makes you realise what kind of way the pupils were taught, in the nineteenth century.Learning was so cold, strict and harsh. Facts were important, always having the correct answer; the answer that teachers wanted to hear was the only way."Plant nothing else and root out every thing else. You can form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts; nothing else will ever be of service to them, "Gradgrind stresses. The sentences make you realise what kind of way the pupils were encouraged to be taught. They would be given the basic needs like a plant requires water, sun and nutrition, but what about all that care, love and attention? This also proves how the children were not allowed to develop their creativity their individualities, as every thing else, expect for facts was discouraged and rooted out of them. I believe that Dickens does not agree with this as through the story the narrator's voice comes through. A big example of this is in chapter two, when he talks about Mr.M'Choakumchild, "If he had only learnt a little less, how infinitely better he might have taught much more!" This is the voice of the narrator, Dickens himself.Straight away through the novel, there is this obvious repetition, that doesn't bore you but surprisingly has a bigger effect on you. For me it reminds me of school and how teachers repeat things over and over again. Dickens uses a lot of repetition to indicate and push these ideas forward, so that your view is basically made up for you. Dickens doesn't really allow you to make up your own opinion; basically I sense that his voice has a big influence over the...

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