Hard Times

What is the education like for women and men in Coketown?

Depending on the social class, is there different amount if education? Are women educated less or equal to men? Are there consequences?

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Thomas Gradgrind runs Coketown's model school, which is designed according to a utilitarian educational system. Children are taught only 'useful' things (facts), and imagination is seen as a waste of time. Bitzer, the model pupil of the model school is the product of Gradgrind's system of facts," basically his perfection as a student is representative of Coketown's model educational facilities.

The children of Coketown all receive the same education. Even Sissy, who is traveling with the circus attends school, but she is also the one student who has not been influenced by the 'philosophy,' and her imagination and individuality have not been stifled. The city and the school both oppose Sleary's circus (an allegory for the world of fancy and illusion).

The girls are educated in the same way as the boys, but ultimately it matters not, as their positions in society and compliance with the Victorian view of women won't allow them anything more because they're educated. Louisa is brilliant, but is also unable to feel true emotion or love. Her education doesn't keep her from a loveless marriage.


Hard Times