Hard Times by Charles Dickens: Chapter 1 Analysis Essay
Teacher Dickens is drawing upon the Grandgrind model school system. It is based upon the philosophy of cold facts and logical thinking that “nothing else will ever be of any service to them.” It also does not also allow entertain creative play or imaginative entertainment such as what Grandgrind’s children did when they watch a circus through a peephole in the fence. The Grandgrind model, entails memorization of facts just like how Grandgrind tested his student on how to define a horse.
The application of Grandgrind model school system is suited for the Industrial Revolution of England where workers are required to do repetitive tasks in factories working with machines and materials. In this environment, creativity has no place and imagination is highly discouraged.
Dickens was totally opposed to the idea of government interference in education and schools. In his novel, the character of Mr. Grandgrind may have been the metaphorical government, despotic in its approach and too methodological in teaching that does not allow creative play or imagination that it scolded children just for watching a circus.
Dickens thought of students in school as individuals and being individuals, each of them are unique. The philosophy of facts, logic and numbers does not suffice to educate an individual but must also include creativity, imagination and play. He also believes that values must also be taught to students such as altruism, charity, community service and being a good citizen. He believe that this kind of individuality may not be treated with such importance by the government and the whole system and that individuals must practice it on its own.
Mr. Grandgrind, M’Choakumchild and Government Gentleman all subscribe to the idea of educating students through the philosophy of facts. For them, students must always be logical memorizing only facts and being familiar with numbers and nothing more will matter. All of them are disdainful to imaginative play and creative pursuit thinking that it does not help for a student to learn.
There is a purpose for this kind of education. This kind of education is suited for the factory work during the industrial revolution when the book was written. Factory jobs does not require creativity and imagination. It only requires basic skill and knowledge such as reading, writing and basic mathematical operations. Memorizing facts is also essential so that they can memorize the procedures of a machine or a plant. Imagination and creativity has no place in a production line so it is discouraged by the likes of Mr. Grandgrind, M’Choakumchild and Government Gentleman.
This kind of education is flawed because it might lead the students to mere machines. This kind of education does not really educate students but just make them factory workers in their adult life. They do not want students to imaginative and creative because they might be very difficult to control when they work in factories and fear that might even mess up the production lines. So they thought of just giving them the minimum skills of memorizing, reading, writing, and basic math to do factory work.