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

Essay by sexyHigh School, 12th grade May 2004

download word file, 10 pages 1.0

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...