Dickens mocks Mr Gradgrind through his speeches and his obsession with facts. Gradgrind is described as a “square wall of a forehead” this is showing how he needs everything to be perfect and ruled off, just like his house which is the same. “his eyes found commodious cellarage in two dark caves” dickens even uses this as a way to ridicule Gradgrind by say his eyes are spacious, where most people light up with enthusiasm and excitement but Gradgrind could not because he is just filled with facts and has had no imagination. In the second paragraph of the novel dickens keeps on saying “the emphasis was helped” he does this to show how ridiculous Gradgrind is when he keeps on insisting on facts.
When Dickens is describing Gradgrinds hair he says “which bristled on the skirts of his bald head” Dickens has made the reader believe that he is full of facts and straight-ruled like his garden but his hair shows he is not by the way it bristles. This indicates that he may not always be correct but as long as he speaks loudly and confidently people will think he is. Gradgrinds head is “all covered in knobs” showing that he is so full of facts he is bursting. He is also made to feel ugly because of how Dickens relates his head to “scarcely warehouse room for the hard facts stored inside” the words hard and warehouse makes him seem very bland and cold. His body is described as a “square coat, square legs , square shoulder” the repeating of square makes it stand out more how like his garden and school room are very boring and just factual.
Dickens also ridicules Gradgrind by his actions. Some of Gradgrinds first words, of the novel, are “what I want is facts” this is telling the children that they do not have to understand all the work as long as they can keep on telling facts. This is a contradiction of what school should be like because people are sent to school to increase there understanding of life. In the assembly Gradgrind picks on Sissy Jupe because he has never seen her before, he calls her girl number twenty. This could be getting her ready for working in the mills and factories, where she would not be known by anything other than her pay check number.
Gradgrind asks Sissy Jupe what her father does and she replies “he works with riding horses” Gradgrinds first reaction is to ask for a fact so he asks her for the definition of a horse. Sissy does not have the answer for this, so ironically gets ridiculed for this by Gradgrind. Gradgrind looks over the audience for someone else to make Sissy look bad, he notices Bitzer in the same ray of light that he caught sight of Sissy in and pointed at him with his square finger.
Gradgrind knew Bitzer by name and not number showing he must know through good, factual academic work. Gradgrind asked Bitzer for the definition of a horse and his reply was “Quadruped. Graminiverous. Forty teeth…” this was just the start of an extensive description of a horse. Bitzer got praised for this although he did not know what most words meant. This is showing how poor Gradgrinds idea of education was.
Gradgrinds school room reflects a lot about his appearance being dull and his mind needing everything perfect. The school room is described a “plain, bear, monotonous, vault of a school room”. This is showing how, everything must be ruled straight and have no curves or irregular lines, which could lead to the use of an imagination. The pupils are taught just facts because if they are taught to use their imagination they may not want to work in the factories or mills, putting Mr Gradgrind out of a job. The vault is acting like a prison the pupils are in. In prison you have got to do what you are told and in this school room you are told to learn facts.
Just like Gradgrinds school room his home is just as regular and bland. Gradgrinds home is called stone lodge and before you know any facts about it, you think it is going to be cold, square and very consistent. It is briefly described as “a great square house” again it is referring to squares just how Gradgrind is always referring to facts. The house is also described as “a calculated, cast up, balanced and proven house” this is showing how much of a perfectionist he is and how over the top he is. “All of the primmest quality” and “making an arithmetical figure in Parliament” show that he is rich and powerful in Coketown, where he may be mayor or M.P. and wants the town to be reminded for ever how correct he was.
When Gradgrind catches his children looking in at the circus he is fuming because the circus is all about freedom and imagination, exactly the opposite to what the school encourages and demands. When Gradgrind notices two of his children Thomas and Louisa, he marches over to them and takes them home, all the way home he is saying what would Mr Bounderby think. This is showing that not only Gradgrind gets at all the children about being factually correct but another older male does. How Dickens keeps on repeating the name Bounderby makes it stick in your head and think that he is a figure of authority.
Mr Choakumchild is portrayed exactly like Gradgrind in the school room so you can learn more about Gradgrind through him. “Had lately been turned, at the same time, in the same factory” is relating it back to the schools teaching the children to work in factories and how every thing is the same and regular. In the first three chapters everything has been regular from the school room to the house and back to Gradgrind. Choakumchild has learnt a lot of decrease and facts like Gradgrind.
Dickens says “If he had only learnt a little less, how infinitely better he might have taught much more.” Shows that even the teachers have not learnt what the facts meant but just what they are all to please Gradgrind. Dickens also implies that if Gradgrind had taken time to learn the meaning of the facts then he may have been a better person. All in all Dickens mainly mocks Gradgrind about his over use of facts; Gradgrind may do this to cover up his childhood. In his childhood he may like Bounderby, have had a tough life but unlike Bounderby, he is not proud of it but ashamed.