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Literary Analysis of the Hard Time: By Charles Dickens

Updated on April 9, 2014

In this book, Hard Times ,Charles Dickens is focusing on Thomas GrandGrind, a schoolteacher. He considers Grandgrind as a man full of realities and facts as well as a man who is comical in nature. He is presenting GrandGrind as a man with his own principles and who cannot be easily influenced by another or circumstances without proof. Mr. Thomas GrandGrind who mainly teaches mathematics is depicted as always being in possession of a multiplication table, a pair of scales and a rule for his work. The author affirms that GrandGrind is man who cannot belief anything unless it is backed by mathematics facts! This is the reasons why he carries along mathematical instruments. In portraying this character, Dickens is espousing one among his teaching scenes to show this notion in him.

According to the author, this teacher normally introduces himself to his acquaintances, the public, and his class as Thomas GrandGrind Sir. He is man who focuses himself in instilling realities and facts to his audience. From the way he spoke and taught his audience, Dickens explains that GrandGrind would appear as a man endowed with wisdom on life’s realities and facts which he was eager to pour out once he had an opportunity.

In Portraying his comical nature, Dickens is drawing one incidence in his lesson where GrandGrind inquires about the identity of a new student in his class. When the student, a lady, informs him that her name is Sissy Jupe, he quickly rejects the name arguing that Sissy cannot be a typical name and instead requests her to say her full name, Cecilia. When the girl insists that even his father calls her so, he points out that the name is wrong and his father should stop calling her so. He goes as far as demanding the kind of person, which Sissy’s father is. When she tells him that he is a horse rider, he frowns at her.

Mr GrandGrind is a man who expected his students to understand simple matters and facts. For instance when he asks Sissy to define a horse and she cannot, he get appalled at her lack of knowledge on what a horse is, despite her father being a horse rider and despite a horse being a common animal in the place. Since a lady has shown lack of knowledge on what a horse is, he now turns to a boy to give his definition. The boy’s name was Bitzer. Bitzers definition seems appealing to him and he asks Sissy to take the meaning of a horse from Bitzer’s definition.

In his teaching lesson, Mr GrandGrind again asks the class whether they could carpet the room using representation of flowers to which the class answers a resounding no except from Sissy. There answer was however, not based on whether they had understood the teacher but because they were used to saying no to his queries. The contrary answer from Sissy prompts Mr Grandgrind to turn again to her and asks why she could carpet the floor using flower representations. When she says that she could do so because she fancies flowers, this becomes the topic of his lesson where he cautions them against fancying.

According to Thomas Grandgrind, it is wrong for people to fancy on life aspects. Rather, as he asserts, people must rely on facts to base their beliefs. GranDGrind articulates that fancying is a contradiction of facts and reality and people must at all costs discard it. He continues to post that for the purpose of facts, people must combine mathematical elements and figures as a basis of demonstration and proof of facts and realities.


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