Dickens’ school - Sample Essay

Until his arm was tired out” just because he has warts on his hands. This suggests that Mr Squeers is very greedy, and is a very strict and nasty person. Another example of this is when Mr Squeers again thrashes Smike with “one desperate cut”. The other main teachers in the text, Ursula and Nicholas are new to the school, Ursula has an experience of teaching in the new school, whereas Nicholas doesn’t In both texts the two teachers, Ursula and Nicholas, seem to be uncomfortable with the school in some way or another.

In “Nicholas Nickleby”, Nicholas sees the class for the first time and looks “in dismay” around, which suggests that its not what he is expecting and is shocked by what he is seeing. He sees this scene as “painful”. The word painful suggests that the pupils are suffering and that Nicholas is uncomfortable with the way the children are treated. Similarly Ursula sees the classroom for the first time and feels “the prison is round her”, which suggests that she feels trapped with no escape, like being locked up.

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When Nicholas meets the pupils for the first time he sees them as “young noblemen”, which suggests that he’s being sarcastic and the pupils are the exact opposite. However Ursula feels uncomfortable around the children, when they go to answer a question their hands shoot up like “blades”, which suggests that Ursula is afraid and threatened by the pupils. Again, when Ursula is in the class with the pupils she is in “torture”. Lawrence uses the word torture, to suggest that Ursula hates the children and she can’t stand being near them, that they are inferior.

Another example of this is when she stands in front of the class she feels “naked”, and breaths “inflexible air”. These all suggest Ursula feels uncomfortable and threatened around the children. In both texts these two teachers hand out a lot of severe violence. In Dickens’ text Nicholas witnesses Mr Harby thrashing Smike and immediately shouts “stop! “, which suggests that he can’t stand seeing innocent boys being thrashed and bullied any more. Squeers reacts to this by screaming “sit down beggar”, which suggests that Squeers is shocked and angry with Nicholas.

The fight begins when Nicholas “struck him a blow to the face” and beats him till he “roars for mercy”. Theese show severe violence and a battle between good and evil. However, in Lawrence’s text Ursula does not battle with another teacher, she inflicts severe violence on a pupil. This starts when “something went click in Ursula’s soul”, this suggests that Ursula has a sudden change of character and in an instant she is a different person. She is off for Williams, she “seized” him by the arm. The word seized suggests aggression.

Williams then “clings to the form”, which suggests that Williams is reacting to Ursula and is still going to disobey her. This is described as a “battle”. Lawrence uses the word battle, to suggest that Ursula will have to battle Williams in order to punish him. The battle goes on as Ursula thrashes Williams with the cane “again and again” with Williams “writhing and kicking”. These suggest a violent and savage battle between them. Ursula doesn’t stop until “he sank with a howling yell on the floor”, which suggests that Ursula has won the fight and Williams had given up.

Throughout this thrashing, Lawrence describes Williams as a variety of animals. His eye like that of a “fish”, and is described as a “beaten beast”, which suggests an animal theme, that Williams is wild and uncontrollable. Similarly in Dickens’ final scene Mr Squeers is described as a “wild beast”, which again suggests that he is uncontrollable. I think that Lawrence’s text, “The Rainbow” is the most powerful and believable of the two texts. Lawrence’s text has more atmosphere outside and inside the school as it’s described as silent, deserted, dark and gloomy.

The dry plants from the window representing the pupils with life sapped from them. The building itself “imitating the church’s architecture” suggesting the building has life and is where mourning takes place. However Dickens’ school has no atmosphere and no description of the school itself. In Lawrence’s text, Mr Harby seems more powerful and has more depth to his character, how he speaks to the children as if they are in the military trying to imitate the army’s strict and smart regime. However Mr Squeers has no depth in his character and doesn’t seem to be as powerful as Mr Harby.

He is greedy and keeps the money given to him to improve the school’s facilities for himself and family. Personally, I don’t think this would happen in a proper school. Mr Squeers doesn’t even teach the proper spelling or meaning of words correctly which makes you wonder if he is even fit to be a teacher. In Lawrence’s text we get to know Ursula’s feelings a lot more than Nicholas’, this provides a lot more depth to the character and makes us understand the character better, whereas Dickens doesn’t go into much detail in his characters resulting in lack of atmosphere and depth in the text.



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