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Two chapters of Hard Times

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” I feel that this tells us of Gradgrinds feelings of the significance of facts. Dickens uses very descriptive language when discussing the themes and characters in chapter one, for example, we learn all about Gradgrind and also in a way, Dickens opinions of them as well (shown in the way he is described and what he is made to sound like. ) However, we don’t know his name or any personal details about him. The dialogue adds a lot to this chapter, for example, the first paragraph is a speech by Gradgrind and it sets the scene for what Gradgrind is trying to achieve throughout the book.

A lot of the impact is set in the dialogue.

Figurative language is used quite a lot in this chapter. Metaphors and similes are used quite a lot in the description of Gradgrind e. g. “the speaker’s square wall of a forehead, which had his eyebrows for a base, while his eyes found commodious cellarage in two dark caves, overshadowed by the wall.

” Dickens also uses repetition of the word “facts” and especially “nothing but facts. ” I think that this is done because Dickens wants to get across to us that all Gradgrind wants to teach these children are facts. Dickens’ style is very consistent and it doesn’t change throughout chapter one and two.

The intentions behind chapter one and chapter two include several things. For example, Dickens wants to set the scene, and give us a definite opinion of Gradgrind.

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He is also starting to tell us about how his teachers should be and what his school is like. Throughout the book, he wants to inform, whilst entertaining parents of the dangers of these schools just being allowed to be set up like this. As we know that Hard Times was first printed weekly from April to August of 1854 in a house owner’s magazine, so therefore, it was quite likely to be read by a large audience.

When looking at the context that Hard Times was set in, I am going to discuss utilitarianism and also the education during and before 1854. Utilitarianism is a belief that everything is done for the good of society and not for the individual. They also believe that if an action is right it tends to promote happiness, whereas if it is wrong, unhappiness would stem from it. A good example of utilitarianism is if a bomb was surrounded by a whole crowd of people, and would surely kill them all. A utilitarian would be expected to jump on the bomb to kill himself and save society.

I am now going to look at education between 1825-1855. Schooling was very poor during the Victorian period, most children didn’t get any education. However, in 1808, the British and Foreign School society was founded, and in 1811, the strongly religious National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the principles of the Established Church was founded. Between these two societies, 18,000 schools had been set up by 1851. In 1833, the government made it law that every child between the age of 9 and 13 should have 2 hours of education during an 8 hour factory shift.

This however, didn’t work because parents refused to send their child to be educated when they could be working earning money to add to the family income. However, things started to move forwards in the 40’s due to James Kay-Shuttleworth, as among various other achievements, he opened the first teacher training college in Battersea, and developed an inspectorate for schools with government grants. Due to the fact that the middle class, fee-paying schools didn’t depend on state funding (therefore, no inspections), there was a greater variation of standards.

Finally, by 1850, there were 700 institutions for adults and skilled workers. Having looked at both education and utilitarianism, I can see that these two concepts have shaped the text greatly. I can see that Gradgrind is running the school for society and how it will help society, not to help all of the individual children. We can see this in chapter two because both Gradgrind and M’Choakemchild are in the classroom, Gradgrind asks Sissy Jupe to describe a horse, and when she can’t, instead of helping her he asks someone else to show her how she should know what a horse is and that everybody else does.

I can also see that Dickens views on education and how education was then has also influenced Hard Times. I can see this because in the 1800’s if someone had enough money and interest they could open a school. So the people that teach there don’t have to have any qualifications or even knowledge. This is what Gradgrind has done and Dickens obviously disapproves of this, as these adults can influence the children how they like and do what they want with them. In conclusion, I am going to discuss how all of these factors combine to make the first two chapters in Hard Times effective when looking at the characters and themes.

I believe that the language and the style particularly influence how Dickens presents the characters and themes. This is because without using the descriptive language and the figurative language that is used, I don’t think that Dickens would portray his feelings on the subject matter as well as he does. I also feel that now I understand the context of Hard Times, I can understand the book better. All of the above mentioned literary devices contribute to making the first two chapters effective in presenting the characters and themes.

At the end of each chapter you’re left with a clear description of one of the characters. Dickens writes these in such a way that you want to learn more and if they carry on to your expectations. You also learn quite clear themes at the beginning and so during the story you know what Dickens is trying to achieve and inform people. I realise that at the time, this wasn’t published as a book, but in a weekly magazine. This makes it quite understandable as Dickens obviously had to make his each chapter effective to keep the readers interested.

If they could only read one chapter at a time and the first two were really dreary, they wouldn’t be interested to read anymore. I believe that this is why he has started with a big impact. How effectively does Dickens present his characters and themes in the opening two chapters of “Hard Times”? Comment on his style and language in your response. Analyse and evaluate. By Bryony Harper, 12MZS Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hard Times section. Download this essay Print Save Not the one? Search for your

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Two chapters of Hard Times. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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