Dickens, Education, and Social Enrichment
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This thesis examines Charles Dickens’s criticism of Victorian education systems. This thesis considers three of Dickens’s novels: Hard Times, Nicholas Nickleby, and Great Expectations. By demonstrating the failure of Victorian school systems to encourage these environments, Dickens’s novels highlight the need to teach children how to critically analyze their surroundings and question the information that they are provided. Although regulation and control are necessary dimensions of schools, they should not restrict children’s individuality, creativity, or imagination. Schools should aim to develop morally sound children who participate socially, economically, and culturally as a part of larger communities of human beings. This thesis considers how Dickens emphasizes childhood as an integral part of human development, and how establishing strong education systems is integral to future social improvement. Education systems must be open to scrutiny and must be willing to change. Children should always be a priority for society, and schools are an integral part of this development.