How does Charles Dickens treat the theme of education in his novel Hard Times?

2388 Words May 13th, 2004 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
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Everyone has the same answer when it comes to facts. What about the childhood fun? The nursery rhymes? Having their own interpretation, the uniqueness of a child? The right to think about things and seeing things more as than what they appear to be?

Chapter one, where the children are referred too as "little vessels then and there... full to the brim," makes them sound like nothing but guinea pigs, and I think Dickens feels that we are more than that and deserve appreciation, and equality.

In the second chapter where Bitzer (Bitzer being one of the pupils in the classroom) describes a horse "Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty marks in mouth." Is that a horse? That's not the usual description of a child's view of a horse. There is no love, no understanding of that connection between humans and animals that has always been there. It just shows that the education being taught was just so cold. It's as if you give a poor man a house of his own, water and food, you've given him a life. What kind of life is it? Waking up, eating and sleeping, where are all the parts in between that actually make life worth living? Where are all those parts of education that make it so enjoyable?

Sissy is another of Gradgrind's pupils, she is different to Bitzer as she is more imaginative than him, and is the one who is seen as a failure in class. When Sissy answers the question about the horse you realise that even though she has been brought up by
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