School life Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 13 November 2017

School life

Nicholas Nickelby written in 1838 by Charles Dickens explores the life of a young school assistant at “Dotheboys Hall” and gradually explains how disgusted he felt. Laurie Lee later wrote an imaginary autobiography “Cider with Rosie” which is not just a factual account of the author’s life but also accounts of events and incidents. This reflected school life in a different, vivid approach because you got his personal opinion. Obviously, both authors would show differences mainly due to the difference in time.

Both Dickens and Lee were born in different eras therefore studied at school at different times. Not only was time a major difference, but the types of texts written; Dickens wrote a novel and Lee an autobiography and taking into consideration-originality. “Cider with Rosie” and “Nicholas Nickleby” both are diverse because they are written by different authors but Lee’s diversity is shown mainly by it being first person, yet everyone has their own style of writing. Nicholas cared about the other children but Laurie just cared only about himself.

He did not hate school because of schoolwork but because he did not have to do any, which was contradictory compared Laurie. School life portrayed differently considering the eras of their birth therefore having an age gap and attending school at a contrasting period. Charles Dickens’s educational system from early nineteenth (1812 -1870) ran differently relating to Laurie Lee during later twentieth century (1914-1997), is a significant difference. Buildings in “Nicholas Nickleby” were described as “bare and dirty” and the ceiling supported like that of a “barn.

” The inside would be cold consisting of “rickety furniture”; whish suggests that the school was poorly built possibly due to lack of money. Nicholas being accustomed to poverty (by the unfortunate speculations of his father) had taught him to make his own way into the world; he may have found the school conditions familiar. Long ago, schools and the educational systems were not considered as a priority; consequently, no effort was made to improve them. There is hardly any mention of the exterior of the building or the surrounding environment. In “Cider with Rosie,” it is complete reverse; the issue is different.

At the beginning, there are a few pages with a description of the natural environment like the valley, which consists of “twenty to thirty houses” made from “Cotswold stone. ” Most of the surroundings are clarified at the beginning. There is more mention of the background and seasons compared to the buildings themselves. The houses “ooze” over the hills like “thick layers of lava. ” There is mention of a “Big Room” which Laurie moves into; from becoming an indolent child to “adult and tough” that justifies his growth during school; from primary to secondary school.

There is one distinctive difference and that is that in both tales; there is no real reference to buildings. Remembering that though, the earlier in time the worse the buildings were, the authors chose not to elaborate on this. Another difference is that there was increasing description of the countryside in “Cider with Rosie” that now may think he is boasting about the “beauty” of his hometown. The similarity is that there is not enough description about the interior of the classrooms.

Charles Dickens vividly describes the teachers as rude people who liked mistreating the children “please sir, he’s weeding the garden. ” Mr. Squeers who is the head and most monstrous of the school alongside his wife is violent and negligent claiming he will “take the skins off their backs” he would even cane them if they did not behave. At one moment in time, he shows cruelty towards the children because when they receive some post from their families he reads it himself and judging form the messages received, were happy to get rid of their charges, and the “news” was simply a further addition to their misery.

The teachers did not encourage the pupils to study and preferred then to “weed the garden” and “clean the parlour windows. ” In “Cider with Rosie,” a dame teacher taught with a sixteen-year-old female assistant, similar to Nicholas’s case except Nicholas was the assistant. During the story the teacher “Crabby. B” has a nervous breakdown saying, “I won’t have it! ” when the children would not “sit down! ” They soon found a replacement teacher “Miss. Wardly from Birmingham. ” Lee describes her as having “loose but stronger reins” sharp-tongued, but patient enough.

She wanted then to learn, so she encouraged them to and even “wistfully” wished her students “good luck” when they grew up and left. A further comparison in “Cider with Rosie” the children were not as well disciplined because they drove their teacher insane. The children in “Nicholas Nickleby” would not even dare treat their teacher with disrespect because they knew they could loose everything they had. However, in the twentieth century (Lee’s era) punishment and using the cane was illegal.

There are people/characters in “Nicholas Nickelby” such a boy called “Smike” who is a half-witted inmate of Squeers’s establishment who is treated like a slave. He is the oldest and does not have to do any schoolwork but is treated worse to the rest because at one time, he “received” a “box on the ear” from Mr. Squeers presuming to contradict his mistress. Mrs. Squeers is as bad as Mr. Squeers because she does not care about the children apart from their own spoilt son-Master. Squeers.

She is also involved with the scandal of running the school as a business. Lee introduces his friends “Poppy, Jo, Vera and Spadge” who are all in his class and seems like they are his only friends. He only ever mentions them therefore, we have an impression they are the closest ones he has. He does not like Vera and decides it would be funny to “hit her over the head” with a stick. He describes Poppy and Jo as “the two blonde girls” and Spadge the rebellious class “bully. ”

Spadge was the boy who decided to mock the teacher “Crabby. B. ” another character was the sixteen year old assistant who Laurie liked very much “the pretty, gracious lady. ” Laurie has friends but people who he can confide and communicate with a positive, friendly atmosphere. ” In “Nicholas Nickleby”, Nicholas has no one to talk to and tell his problems to, except Smike who he eventually speaks to because Nicholas feel sympathetic towards him asking “you are shivering? ” “N-o-o. ” the children do not have permission to talk to each other because the teacher is too strict with them.

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  • Date: 13 November 2017

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