October: English

In Chapter one of ‘Hard Times’ by Charles Dickens, Mr Thomas Gradgrind is in Mr M’Choakumchild’s school house lecturing the children on the importance of facts:

‘“In this life, we want nothing but Facts, sir; nothing but Facts!”

The speaker, and the schoolmaster, and the third grown person present, all backed a little, and swept with their eyes the inclined plane of little vessels then and there arranged in order, ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim.’

Question: Mr Gradgrind and Mr M’Choakumchild see the children as ‘little vessels’ that need to be filled with ‘facts’.  What, in your opinion, are the connotations of the description ‘little vessels’?

Other areas to consider:

Do you feel Charles Dickens agrees with this description of the students?
What can we deduce about the two adult characters from the names Charles Dickens has given them?
How important are facts in education?

For further reading and study in this area visit: http://www.enotes.com/topics/hard-times; http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-hardt/ or http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/hardtimes/.

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