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    Murdering the Innocents: The School’s Attitude Towards Children

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    In chapter 2, “Murdering the Innocents” Dickens uses the title- a quotation from Matthew 2:16- ironically as it describes the attitude and actions of the school, “murdering” the children’s imagination and creativity. The chapter starts with the speaker from chapter whose name is “Thomas Gradgrind. ” He describes the character’s attitude with no verbs. This gives the impression to the reader the man is too business like to bother with verbs for the tone is serious, crisp and business like.

    “With a rule and a pair of scales and the multiplication table always in his pocket, Sir, ready o weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case simple arithmetic,” is a quotation from the first paragraph where Dickens is being ironic, for he thinks human nature, isn’t simple enough to be measured scientifically because there is a needs for imagination and sympathy.

    Soon afterwards, Dickens uses alliteration (“to be filled so full of facts,”) to suggest the children are like a sponge that just absorb the facts forced upon them. He also shows Gradgrind calling a girl not by her name but “Girl twenty,” which suggests to the reader that a name characterizes a person as an individual, therefore what Gradgrind called her meant she was just another product in the long line of the industrial process, all the same result. He then asks for her name, to, which she replies “Sissy Jupe, Sir.

    ” This shows her father’s affection for her, which Gradgrind can’t understand. He replies “Sissy is not a name,” “Don’t call yourself Sissy. Call yourself Cecilia,” because its not fact. In addition, he shows no sensitivity. Dickens describes Mr. Gradgrind asking what her father does, to, which she answers “he belongs to the horse-riding, if you please, Sir”; this is a type of circus. He despises circuses because they are entertainment for the imagination. He just “waved off the objectionable calling with his hand. ”

    Later in the conversation Gradgrind asks her to define a horse, but giving no time to answer says “Girl number twenty unable to define a horse! ” said Mr. Gradgrind, for the general behaviour of all the little pitchers. “Girl number twenty possessed of no facts, in reference to one of the of commonest of animals! Some boy’s definition of a horse. Bitzer, yours. ” By this, he humiliates her implying that she knows nothing, but in fact, she probably knows more about horses than Bitzer, through living in a circus. He thinks facts is the answer, but he doesn’t know how to handle and deal with horses.

    Near the end of this chapter the teacher in Gradgrind’s school mentioned, Mir M’Choakumchild. Dickens has used the same method as with Mr. Gradgrind of the name representing the characters personality and attitude. Mr. M’Choakumchild seems to the reader, to choke the imagination out of the children. Dickens suggests this by the repetition of the word “same” as in the opening paragraph in chapter 1 of “facts”, “had been lately turned at the same time, in the same factory on the same principles,” when describing Mr.

    M’Choakumchild. The words “in the same factory,” also implying they are the same products and are not treated as individuals, “like so many pianoforte legs,” Dickens simile suggests the dry, “wooden” teaching in Gradgrind’s school. When he characterizes Mr. M’Choakumchild’s appearance he uses phrases like “his ten chilled fingers,” to also mean cold and unfeeling, furthermore, a phrase like “his stony way,” to indicate lack of moral warmth.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Murdering the Innocents: The School’s Attitude Towards Children. (2017, Oct 31). Retrieved from

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