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Published: 23-10-2019

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Who Is This Mr. Gradgrind? The First Meeting with the Character

Early in Hard Occasions, Dickens develops the portrait of Gradgrind in the classroom delivering a lesson centred on horses at his model college to his model students. Dickens carries Gradgrind’s factual theories, utilitarianism and educational technique principle into his domestic family members life as properly as his schoolroom. All through the novel’s earliest chapters, we start to discover in far more detail Gradgrind’s philosophy place into practise and the interactions with the students that he teaches. Mr Gradgrind’s name represents a strong example of Dickens use of caricature. Gradgrind is a harsh, forceful-sounding word and the use of repeated G’s and a brief ‘a,’ creates the automatic presumptions that the reader has towards him. The word grind represents something being worn down, for example machinery, and this is a huge aspect of Coketown life. Grinding anything, is minimizing it to what you want it to be. Just like Gradgrind is sculpturing his students into representatives of himself.

Dickens makes use of descriptive language that reflects the personality of Mr Gradgrind. The repeated use of ‘cellarage’ conveys that his eyes are like caves, that they have space in them, reflecting a dark, dingy cellar. They reflect a cold, dank personality that lacks an genuine enjoy and feeling for emotion and life. Nonetheless, Dickens describes him as ‘eagerly sparkled,’ this shows an image of his eyes, but suggests in far more detail that they are only alive when he is dealing with facts and figures. Dickens shows that Gradgrind has a ‘square forefinger’ portraying his obsession with a straight, ordered and uniformed way of living and studying. This also hyperlinks to Gradgrind’s dismissive action as he ‘waved off the objections calling with his hand,’ and rejecting the way that Sissy has been brought up he shows both his arrogance and his handle of other people.

Grandgrind’s language fits his character throughout this text. Dickens makes use of language that indicates that Gradgrind has a harsh and controlling character. The brief clipped sentences, ‘Thomas Gradgrind, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations,’ all underline and recommend a man who does not waste words, Mr Gradgrind is capable to articulate specifically what he wants to place across to his students quickly and more importantly efficiently. The repetition of his names, ‘Thomas Gradgrid, Thomas—Thomas Gradgrind,’ conveys his significance and his awareness of his standing and his place in the hierarchy of Coketown. Mr Gradgrid shows this handle by telling Sissy how she should introduce herself ‘Don’t call yourself Sissy,’ Gradgrid humiliates her and shows her who has authority. Gradgrind also tells her that the circus and horses have no location in the schoolroom, she is not entitled to share her personal opinion, ’you mustn’t talk about that, here’ and ‘you mustn’t tell us about the ring, here.’ Sissy is told not to address her father in that way, once more illustrating Gradgrind’s control more than his students. Gradgrind desires Sissy to propose her father as ‘a veterinary surgeon, a farrier and horse-breaker,’ Gradgrind desires to cabal her father with factual definitions. Sissy appears to accept what he says but we can tell she is actually frightened of him through her body language. The use of Gradgrind’s mathematical language conveys his obsessive nature and Dickens portrays this utilizing humour ‘multiplication table constantly in his pocket,’ ‘pair of scales’ and ‘simple arithmetic,’ all show that he is not utilizing any ‘fancy,’ language or allowing any emotion, instincts, affections or feelings to be shown. His actions and thoughts are based on logic information, period.

Mr Gradgrind, interacts with his students in distinct ways, treating them differently simply because of the details and figures that they possess. Sissy is nervous, polite and embarrassed ‘number twenty, blushing…curtseying,’ when Gradgrind interacts with her. Dickens shows us her vulnerability and embarrassment when she is unable to define a horse. The young children at his school are numbers in a system and not provided names, Dickens dehumanises them, ‘pitchers to be filled with facts’ implies that he will not let them to do subjects that are inventive or involve the imagination, these youngsters aren’t permitted to be breathing, living, emotional beings. Dickens makes use of a metaphor that indicates war and destructive imagery ‘seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts,’ offers the reader a sense of the force of his character and passionate belief that Gradgrind will ‘blow’ the kids out of their childhood. Gradgrind tells us the accurate extent he will go to until information and figures are all these youngsters live by, ’imaginations to be stormed away,’ he won’t allow for any imagination or fancy in the classroom and it consequently must be discarded. One particular of the most significant characteristics of this passage is when Sissy Jupe is asked to define a horse, ‘Girl quantity twenty unable to define a horse!’ Sissy is unable to give Gradgrind a factual definition of a horse, as she knows the creatures well as breathing, loving animals. Sissy’s father operates with them daily, she has grown up with them in her each day life, not thinking of them as a statement of the precise which means of a word. Throughout the novel, Sissy discovers that she can not completely comprehend facts and figures and her difficulty to realize them becomes harder this scene is just the starting of her struggles in the schoolroom

Thomas Gradgrind is a representative character of the utilitarian principle of Victorian political economy, a man who prizes information above anything else. He is introduced into Hard Instances as a harsh, controlling, difficult-nosed, shaped-tongued protagonist, who is dismissive of other folks and his opinions are conveyed forcefully and he utilizes them to be in manage and impetuously obeyed. Gradgrind is controlled more than his theory of educational program based on the significance of details and figures. Subsequently when Gradgrind asks Bitzer for his definition of a horse, soon after Sissy can not, he refers to Bitzer as his name and not a number like Sissy previously. Gradgrind attempts to make his mark on Sissy by applying his way of teaching to her but ultimately comes to the realisation that there is a fault in the educational technique.
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