Hard Times - The Theme of Education Essay

2699 Words 11 Pages
Hard Times - The Theme of Education

In this piece I intend to explain how Dickens is trying to represent education in the Victorian era and how he feels about the style of teaching that is widely used during his times. I also intend to make references to how the representation of Victorian schools by Dickens compares, historically to the actual conditions in a school from the
Victorian era.

As soon as the book begins we are introduced to a style of teaching that is dependent only on facts. One of the main characters of the novel is Thomas Gradgrind and he is the enforcer of this utilitarian style of education and is described as a man who is very strict.
Dickens introduces us to this character with a description of his
…show more content…
The way he describes the personality and appearance of Gradgrind suggests traits and looks that most people would find undesirable.

In Dickens’s caricature of Gradgrind he is representing a society in which emotions and personal feelings don’t matter and all that matters is work and production rate. Gradgrind champions this utilitarian style system, he seems to represent all that Dickens felt was evil because he thought that Gradgrind was a man who as long as he got what he wanted, it didn’t matter how he got it and also that society should strive for the greater good for the greater number.

Thomas Gradgrind seems to represent the rigor of "hard facts" and statistics and also what his style of teaching does to a person and how they will be as an adult after being subjected to the education style which Gradgrind uses.

“With a rule and a pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature.” This extract shows what kind of an adult Gradgrind has turned out to be. He seems to be devoid of any needless emotions and is sCeptical of anything he is not sure about and is ready to deduce what it is using scientific reasoning and logic.

The teaching style promoted by Gradgrind seems only to involve