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Dickens and Education Instances of education:

1) Dickens seems to assert that formal education is meaningless due to the incompetence of the teachers. “Mr. Pocket … was a most delightful lecturer on domestic economy, and his treatises on the management of children… were considered the very best… Mr. Pocket being justly celebrated for giving most practical advice, and for having a sound perception of things, I had some notion of begging him to accept my confidence. But happening to look up at Mrs. Pocket as she sat reading her book of dignities after prescribing bed for baby, I thought – Well – No, I wouldn’t.” (760) In this ironic statement, Pip shows that Pocket is completely ineffectual despite being highly regarded. He shows that while a lecturer may have the learning, and the reader may attempt to learn from him, the outcome of the learning is far from certain. Indeed, reading or writing a textbook on domestic economy doesn’t guarantee that you can practice it. Estella is educated “At a great expense” – lavish social habits Being Joe’s apprentice doesn’t inspire Pip, even though he learns formally Mr. Wopsle’s great aunt’s schooling (formal) Biddy educates him Mr. Pocket (formal) – don’t see much effect of his education later in novel – not able to keep his house straight Herbert educates him in etiquette (informal, but seemingly effective) Compeyson is educated as a gentleman Joe portrayed in a much better, heavenly even, light, despite being less educated Pip is unchanged by education (still feels shame of Joe) Wants the education for the wrong reasons… Estella rather than for himself Seems that characters use their education to manipulate others rather than enrich their own lives (Compeyson to Miss Havisham and his other victims; Jaeggers towards the justice system). Education is a tool to be exploited rather than used for greater good. , gentlemanly education, Money vs. education

Miss Havisham Estella


Pip Joe Biddy Convict Orlick Mrs. Joe Sarah Pocket Camilla Herbert Wemmick Jaggers Molly Compeyson Mr. Wopsle and his aunt Uncle Pumblechook


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Dickens and education