Hard Times

Topics: Hard Times, Answer, Charles Dickens Pages: 1 (397 words) Published: August 13, 2013
The opening act of Hard Times by Charles Dickens shows a classroom of students being taught by Mr. Gradgrind. Mr. Gradgrind believes that only facts are important in life and strips the children of the right to have imagination. The story opens describing Mr Gradgrind as a man of fact, who is not interested in anything frivolous or with imagination. He instructs the children that facts are the only thing that matters in life. He demonstrates this when he calls on girl number twenty. Upon finding out her name is Sissy, he immediately states that she should be called Cecilla, not Sissy even though Sissy is her given name. He asks what her father does and quickly stops her when he finds out he is a horsebreaker in the circus. This occupation is not acceptable and although he says he doesn’t want to discuss it, he continues to ask her questions about what he does until he is able to say that he is a veterinary surgeon which meets with his approval. Mr. Gradgrind then goes on to ask the students “What is a horse?” When Sissy is unable to answer, he asks Blitzer. Blitzer knows all the facts about a horse and and Mr. Gradgrind is happy with his answer. A government officer then steps up and asks the class if it is okay to wallpaper a room with horses. A boy in the room answers no, but when asked why, his response is that he wouldn’t paper the room, he would paint it. This was not acceptable to the gentleman so he explains to the students that you can’t wallpaper a room with horses because horses do not walk up and down walls. This is not fact, therefore you can’t do it. The gentleman went on to ask the class if they would carpet a room with flowers. The class answered a strong “no” with only a few answering “yes”. Sissy was one who answered yes and so the gentleman asked her why she would do that. Sissy explained that she liked flowers. The gentleman then asked why she would want to put tables and chairs on the flowers and walk around stepping on...
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