We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

”Hard Times” by Charles Dickens Essay Sample

essay
The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC
  • Pages:
  • Word count: 1026
  • Category: dickens

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

”Hard Times” by Charles Dickens Essay Sample

Dickens presents his criticism of the education for the labouring class in a sarcastic manner. He has created the classroom as a factory. The purpose of the education in Coketown is to root out the innocence and imagination of young children so they will grow into utilitarian robots expecting nothing more than the drudgery of industrial life. Dickens uses specific methods to put his point across of ‘bad education’ by using negative views. This is done with exaggeration because he wants the reader to think the same as what he thinks so it seems like education was extreme and intense. In ‘Hard Times’, the teachers fulfil the excessive teaching skills as they just want the ‘little vessels’ to be filled with facts. Dickens also presents a contrast between two children to show how differently each child gets treated because of their background or their attitude towards things other than facts. Another method that he uses is making the characters stand out through their names to symbolise their personality.

Throughout chapters 1-3, Dickens emphasises on the word ‘facts’ because he wants to continuously present and criticise the education for the labouring class. ‘Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life…’ This is the opening sentence of the novel and straight away you have a vague idea of the extremism of teaching. Also the word ‘fact’ is in capital letters and this signifies the importance of learning nothing but facts. The introduction of the teacher has a lot of exaggeration at hand. Thomas Gradgrind is a middle-class, self-made man. ‘A man of realities…a man of facts and calculations’. Dickens has made this character a very hard and cold teacher who knows what he wants from the students. ‘He seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts…’ Dickens uses military imagery to show how the teacher wants to get rid of childhood imagination.

‘He seemed a galvanising apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away’. Dickens has described this as some sort of physics experiment because ‘galvanising’ is the process named after Galvan in the stimulation of animal tissue by electric currents. But in this case it is the young children that are being stimulated with factual currents. Dickens has made the teacher to be very hard-hearted and cruel and this is to present his criticism on the education for the labouring class because he evidently disagrees with this concept of teaching and he wants the readers to feel the same way by using the different language techniques and this is mostly done through exaggeration.

Dickens introduces two pupils on the scene, Sissy and Bitzer. He has made a comparison between these children so the reader can identify how backgrounds can affect pupil’s presentation towards the teacher. ‘He belongs to the horse-riding, if u please, sir’. Sissy’s father works in the circus and because of her father’s profession, she has an imagination. On the other hand, Bitzer is a very boring child and all he can do is take in facts with no imagination.

The reader is unaware of Bitzer’s background so far, and this could be because Dickens wants the reader to decide for themselves what his background is. ‘…the girl was so dark-eyed and dark-haired, that she seemed to receive a deeper and more lustrous colour from the sun’. This could be due to her imagination that she stores. Whereas Bitzer presents a different description ‘…the boy was so light-eyed and light-haired that the self-same rays appeared to draw out of him what little colour he ever possessed’. He seems very dull and unexcitable because all of his imagination has been drained out of him. Dickens has clearly indicated that children need imagination. Overall, he has shown that there is wholesomeness in Sissy because of the imagination that accompanies her and there is lifelessness in Bitzer because all of his imagination has been sucked out of him.

Dickens has named the teachers so that it reflects towards their characters. This is very effective because it contributes to his criticism on the education for the labouring class. ‘Mr.Gradgrind’ sounds like ‘grinding’ and therefore indicates the grinding down of the little children’s imagination. ‘Mr.M’Choakumchild’ sounds like ‘choke-a-child’ which is very negative for a teachers name. Having these names on teacher’s shows a clear indication on how extreme they were on their students and how forceful school life was for children.

Dickens disapproved on the way teachers were trained because everything was over done. The teachers use to be sent in groups of around hundred and all learn the same thing. ‘He and some one hundred and forty other schoolmasters had been lately turned at the same time, in the same factory, on the same principle…’ specific subjects had to be studied by trainee teachers and they would have to learn things that they do not need to know about. This is what Dickens disagreed about because they learnt so much that was worthless and then they would teach and also intimidate young kids with all of the knowledge they have.

Overall, Dickens has presented his criticism on the education for the labouring class via many techniques. Some of which are through exaggeration so that the viewer starts to realise that the education was not good in those times. Also with the comparison of Sissy Jupe and Bitzer, because it shows that one is wholesomeness because they still have their imagination to accompany them with the description of themselves and the boldness that Sissy carries, where as the other-Bitzer is pale and boring and can only absorb ‘facts’ and therefore is lifeless. The symbolism through the name that reflects on the characters of the teachers also supports how bad the education was for the labouring class because their teachers were teaching as if in military school-‘he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts’ Dickens disagreed with the way teachers would train because the majority of what they would learn was irrelevant.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

How Does Dickens Create Suspense in The...

The Signalman written by Charles Dickens in 1866 is a short story that falls into the gothic fiction genre. This particular style of writing combines elements such as the supernatural, castles, darkness, madness and the unknown. At the time the story was being written, the industrial revolution was in full force. This had a huge impact on society at the time. It improved the standard...

An Exploration of the Relationship Between Pip...

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812. Dickens was sent to school at the age of seven, this proved fairly pointless as Dickens' father, John Dickens, soon fell into debt and was put into prison, the rest of the Dickens family, due to finances were forced to join their father in prison, although Charles was made to work . So at the age of...

"The Signal-Man" by Charles Dickens and "The...

In your answer you should consider: * The use of setting * Presentation of characters * Contextual information * Anything else you think is relevant Suspense can incorporate tension, anticipation, fear and also anxiety. Charles Dickens wrote 'The Signal-Man' when the stream engine was a piece of cutting-edge technology and he himself was involved in two train accidents, during one of which he was in...

"Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens

On the edge of London, was a compact housing estate with lots of children. The houses were quite small but everyone knew everyone and there was a big green in the middle of the estate where the children could come together and play what ever they wanted. Tucked away in the corner of Whinlatter Drive was the house of Oliver Bates. Oliver Bates was a...

Sympathy Towards Pip in Great Expectations

In Great Expectations Dickens uses different techniques to deliberately create sympathy for the character Pip in his opening exchanges with Miss Havisham and Estella. This essay will analyse and reflect on the ways in which Charles Dickens does this. The first meeting between Pip and Miss Havisham is arranged by Mr Pumblechook (Pip's uncle) when he hears that Miss Havisham wants a boy to go...

Get Access To The Full Essay
icon
300+
Materials Daily
icon
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
icon
Free Plagiarism
Checker
icon
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access
immediately?

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!

logo

Emma Taylor

online

Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Couldn't Find What You Looking For?

Get access to our huge knowledge base which is continuously updated

Next Update Will Be About:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member