Hard Times – Charles Dickens Essays

Hard Times – Charles Dickens Essays

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My first extract is “Murdering the innocents”. Life was very difficult for the poor in the Victorian times. It was very different depending on your class. Dickens used the novels to put across his opinion about the poor peoples hard lives. For example there were no laws about how long people could work; this had an effect on the amount of machinery – related accidents that happened in the Victorian era. Many children were working too long resulting in injury and death. Those children who were luckier enough to go to schools lives were better in the sense there getting an education but there teachers were strict and used the cane and there were large classes teaching a wide range of students. Dickens makes us engage with the characters.
The title of the first extract is ‘murdering the innocents’. This suggests the extract is about murder, it suggests killing the children, and however the extract doesn’t involve murder of children. The title is a metaphor that in my opinion means the killing of the things that make a child, a child. It suggests ‘the innocents’ are being destroyed. It also refers to the section in the bible where the King Herod orders all children under the age of 2 to be killed so the ‘new king’ wouldn’t be a threat to him. In this extract Dickens explores poor people. He’s attempting to show rich people how poor peoples’ lives are difficult compared with theirs.
Dickens wants to make the point that in his time school was only about facts and figures. He wanted the children to have an imagination so he was very critical o the education they received. For example in the extract Gradgrind asks Bitzer for his definition of a horse, the definition was not an imaginative one, you would not be able to picture a horse ...


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...s trying to put across his message to show the children there are people less fortunate than themselves and that they should appreciate what they have, also I think he’s trying to make them understand how the poor’s lives are shut away from the rich. I found the description of the boys on the boat most effective as it’s about the children attempting to row the boat on the thick lake of dye and pollution. The sections show that education and industrial towns have moved on from the industrial revolution, education has moved forward by having a lot more schools, teachers and laws about ill treatment towards pupils. Furthermore children under the age of 13 aren’t allowed to work at all and ones over 13 have limited hours up to the age of around 15, 16 where more variety is available, also most of the pollution has gone leaving clear skies again, and machinery is safer.

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