The Handmaid's Tale

What is education like for women and men in Hard Times by Charles Dickens?

The differences between classes- Are there consequences if one class is more or less educated? Is it organized based on how much education you get depending on the class?

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You are correct. Victorian England was completely separated by class. Certainly the few that were of higher classes were afforded an education. Still, even in the higher class strata women would have fallen short of men. Gender roles were strict and marriage and family (for women) would have taken precedence even among the nobility.Rich males would be afforded as much education as they wished. As you move down the "food chain", so to speak, men were allowed as much education as the family could afford and women were relegated to domestic duties. For the greater population (the masses) education was not within reach. They were busy trying to survive.

I never thought to look at these two novel in this context. Dicken's uses Gradgrind satirically to point of the flaws in England's public education system by exposing the his philosophy that children only needed to know the facts and figures; the whole child and a real education were unnecessary. Gilead holds to the same belief in that the women were only taught what it was believed they needed to know. What they learned was controlled.

The consequence of one class being more educated than another is obvious in both novels. People denied education are 'stuck.' The 'lower class' we see in Dicken's novels have no hope of anything more than they have, unless of course they're lucky enough to run into a benevolent benefactor.

The same thing hold true in Gilead. They don't want the women to know another way of life, and they certainly don't want them to be able to research or read about another life. Education means power......... and both of these systems attempted or succeeded in limiting or denying education.