Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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What can be inferred from Chapter 8 of Great Expectations about Charles Dickens' attitudes or ideas about education?

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Chapter 8 of Dickens' Great Expectations is about Pip's trip to town, overnight stay with the "corn-chandler and seedsman" Mr. Pumblechook, his introduction to Estelle, and his meeting with Miss Havisham. There are only four indirect references to education that might be drawn upon to infer any of Dickens' ideas about education, ad it might be taking a textual liberty to apply these references to education as they reflect more directly upon upbringing rather than education. The incident that most likely indicates an idea on education comes while Pip is breakfasting with Mr. Pumblechook on the day of his visit to Miss Havisham.

Pip has said good morning to Mr. Pumblechook and is looking forward to eating the meager breakfast provided for him when his desire "to get a bite or a sup" was interrupted by Pumblechook's arithmetic quizzes which continued unabated throughout Pip's breakfasting time. From this may be extrapolated an inference that while Dickens' knew learning calculations about mathematics was valuable, necessary, and right, learning must be meted out justly at appropriate times and with due consideration to a child's physical and mental needs:

And how should I be able to answer, dodged in that way, in a strange place, on an empty stomach! I was hungry ....

The second instance ties in thematically with the one above as they both consider the justice or injustice with which children are raised and taught, or educated. Pip muses over the reality that because his sister had raised him without respect or admiration for him and as a result had raised him without justice he was now "morally timid and very sensitive." You might paraphrase this as...

(The entire section contains 566 words.)

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