Friday, July 19, 2019

The Victorian Education system as presented in Hard Times :: English Literature

The Victorian Education system as presented in Hard Times From the early beginnings of Hard Times, we can tell that this novel was originally intended to shock those reading it. The education that these children receive is harsh and designed to stem any feelings of self-opinion. When Gradgrind interrogated 'girl number 20', he proved that their education was more strict and when he later humiliated her when he asked her to describe a horse, he proved that the Victorian education system was solely based on fact and allowed no room for it to be questioned. This was even the case in such incidents as where Sissy states that she would like flowers on her carpets. Gradgrinds' wish to outlaw fancy in her thoughts, mean that at some points during the dialogue, Gradgrind can begin to sound absurd in his words. Dickens heavily objects to the mechanical way of teaching in Gradgrind's utilitarian school. As early as in the second chapter the reader notices that the facts taught in this kind of school have no use at all in normal life. Sissy, with her natural understanding of a horse contradicts the cold definition of a horse by Bitzer: 'Quadruped ....'. What makes that situation worse is that later on, Gradgrind, who takes charge of Sissy's education, forces her from learning on her ability to comprehend that she cannot believe in what she wishes. They are stifled in their environment, prisoners of a world of utilitarianism. Gradgrind's school is very plain and bare, Dickens describing it as a 'monotonous vault', and being 'intensely whitewashed'. For pupils having to learn in this kind of environment would be extremely boring, and no encouragement is given to exercise

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