BOOK THE FIRST
In a large, plain, whitewashed schoolroom, three men stand in front of a class of young students. One of the men explains to the teacher his philosophy of education. It is facts that are important, facts that these children must learn. He emphasizes his theory again and again. The man speaking is not identified, but he is serious and severe. Everything about him is dry, inflexible, "square"- all hard edges and uniformity.
This chapter is short but important, because it establishes immediately one of Dickens's major themes: the destructiveness of the wrong kind of education on innocent minds. You'll see a detailed picture of this educational system in Chapter II, but the essence of its philosophy is shown here. Even before any of the characters is introduced by name, you hear a speech in praise of facts. That Dickens disapproves of this theory can be guessed by his description of the grim man speaking.
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