2nd Semester: What is the System of Education based on reason?

The system of education introduced by Mr. Gradgrind at his school was primarily based on utilitarian principles and rationalism. Both these concepts were an integral part of the industrial revolution that took place in England between 1700s and 1840s. The system as seen in the novel operated on the belief that if humans could be transformed into machines by the dulling of their senses, feelings, emotions and by completely eradicating their capacity to imagine, they would become more efficient, productive and useful. Hence, the form of education adopted to achieve such an objective required children to be repeatedly instructed in such a way that they are brainwashed into believing that reason and logic are the only two tools that they need in order to be successful in life. This drilled in to the young children day in and day out until they emerge from the school behaving more or less like their teacher. Armed with such an education they are driven to approach everything as they would a mathematical sum or a scientific equation. The novel goes on to explore the consequences of such an education by focusing on individual characters as they confront specific situations in life that challenges the education that they have received.

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