At the beginning of the novel when we first see Gradgrind we immediately get the impression that he’s a strict and bad tempered man that lives according to the “principles of facts only. ” Later on in the novel, there was a turning point if you like where Louisa and him have a heartfelt talk about her childhood where she tells him “she’s been tired a long time. ” From that conversation it’s clear that it affected both Gradgrind and Louisa and as a result they both changed their ways. In Gradgrind’s case he’s longer an orthodox user of “facts” as a way of life.
Coketown is where everything is set. Even the name Coketown suggests it has a sinister undertone to it. Coketown lacks in colour. Coke is what is left over when coal is burnt. This gives me the idea that this town operates like machinery, everything happens in an orderly fashion. It was there during the industrial revolution, which means it must have been an important town and must have played an important role in people’s lives despite it being dark. “Coketown to which Mrs. Bounderby and Gradgrind now walked was a triumph of fact.
” This means that Coketown has succeeded because of the principles of facts and nothing else and that is why people like Bounderby and Gradgrind and other high-class people can walk with dignity because they contributed to that. Bounderby at one point says, “You see our smoke, that’s meat and drink to us. ” Bounderby is saying that the work in Coketown is what keeps them going. So no matter how much pollution or smoke comes as a result of the industrialised town, it’s the only way of getting their food, without it they would suffer. The school classroom appears worse.
In the second paragraph of the first chapter there are several adjectives used to describe the classroom. E. g. “monotonous, dark, overshadowed, hard, square, etc. ” It sounds horrific. To compliment all of it “the emphasis was helped by the speaker’s square wall of a forehead… ” The quote is talking about Gradgrind here and saying that he adds to the darkness and plainness of the classroom by coming to dictate facts to the kids. The kids in the classroom are like “little vessels then and there arranged in order, ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim.
” This means that the kids are like glasses and they were just waiting to be filled up with facts until they are full. Gradgrind is a very strict and tough individual. When he says, “Now, what I want is facts. Teach… nothing but facts… ” This quote is telling us what Gradgrind is about and it immediately tells us that he is indeed obsessed by facts and he won’t accept anything more or less. His appearance shows what kind of a man he is. He looks really grumpy according to his facial expression and his dress, which is all black.
Black suggests bad temper and that’s what everyone seems to wear which suggests it’s not a very happy place to be brought up. He treats the children like objects (e. g. “girl no. 18”) because that’s all they are to him and seeing as he doesn’t feelings why treat them like anything else. Gradgrind has 2 children, one called Thomas Gradgrind who is selfish and ill natured and the other called Louisa Gradgrind who is the eldest child and who later on becomes Mr. Josiah Bounderby’s wife. The name Gradgrind is enough in its self to strike fear into someone.