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Charles Dickens was an English novelist who was very popular in the Victorian era; he was also loved for producing some of the most iconic characters in English Literature. In chapter 8 of Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens creates sympathy for all the victims by effectively using language devices"deformities with irons upon their limbs". Charles Dickens uses this metaphor to successfully create an image in the readers mind as well as to explain and describe how the boys look to Nicholas and that they haven't been fed enough. "scowl of sullen, dogged suffering", this alliteration and "childhood with the light of its eye quenched"- personification - all help create sympathy for the victims. "Dotheboys Hall" gives the reader an insight of the daily life in boarding schools in the Victorian times. The title "Do-the-boys-Hell" is quite effective as it prepares the reader for what is going to happen in this chapter. The title can also relate to a number of things such as physical, mental and emotional abuse, aggression including unkindness.
Chapter 8 of Nicholas Nickleby focuses on the bad treatment that the boys of Dotheboys Hall received at the hands Mr and Mrs Squeers. Chapter 8 also tells us about how Nicholas- the narrator- feels about the school, the pupils and the way the boys are treated by the Squeers. This chapter also focuses on the poor conditions of Dotheboys Hall. In the Victorian era, people weren't concerned about education and if they did only a few children went to school. Children were mostly needed for working farms and factories since they had to work to bring money to their families. Victorian education wasn't very exciting as children learnt by reciting until they pronounced each word perfectly. Since teachers were often very strict children were scared of them. Some teachers didn't even have the education to teach but did it anyway because they wanted money. Children in Dickens time were seen as enemies by their headmasters "Mr and Mrs Squeers viewed the boys â€¦ proper and natural enemies". This indicates that the relationship between the Squeers and the boys is basically the same as that of rivals in a war. Mr Squeers mistreats the boys horribly, whipping them regularly. He's a very heartless headmaster who thinks he is superior over everything and everyone when it comes to him and the boys. I think this because when Smike - the head boy for the school, he is constantly abused for unnecessary things - suggested that the spoon Mrs Squeers was looking for was in her pocket. Mr Squeers "boxed" him just because Smike was telling his mistress where the school spoon was. Also, when Bolder was explaining that the tarts on his hand were caused by the dirty house work he does at the school. Mr Squeers objected telling Bolder he can't be right because he's "an incorrigible young scoundrel". This shows the reader a clear understanding of how the boys were being treated as if they were animals; it also makes the reader feel sympathy for the boys as they are being abused unnecessarily.
The boys were treated badly by the Squeers "Smikeâ€¦ pushed by Mrs Squeers, and boxed by Mr Squeersâ€¦ another boxâ€¦presuming to contradict his mistress". This makes the readers feel sorry for Smike for the abuse he's receiving moreover it shows the reader the true purpose of the school and the Squeers- to abuse children. It also shows the reader how the boys especially Smike were treated as if they were animals. The boys of Dotheboys Hall weren't given enough good food in view of the fact that the Squeers didn't want to spend money on the school and its pupils. "Don't thinkâ€¦that we go to the expense", this shows how the Squeers doesn't really care about the boys. "we carry on the business" this also tells the readers that Mr Squeers doesn't think of the school as a school but instead as a business. "Spoils their appetites ad comes cheaper than breakfast and dinner". The Squeers used brimstone-Squeers thought it had medical properties- and treacle so it will suppress the appetites of the boys saving them money on breakfast and dinner (Squeers priorities were financial). The Squeers would rather have the boys get malnutrition than waste money on them. This evokes sympathy for the boys for the reason that they would have been better off on the streets of London than in the cruel hands of the Squeers.Mr Squeers "boxed" him just because Smike was telling his mistress where the school spoon was. This shows Mr Squeers as a man who not only doesn't care about others, but also enjoys causing their discomfort.
The language used in the "mind of Nicholasâ€¦horrible endurance of cruelty and neglect" is strong and powerfully descriptive. "Deformities with irons upon their limbs" is a strong and imaginable use of language thinking about it makes the reader feel and experience the kind of treatment the boys must receive from the Squeers to have these "deformities". This creates sympathy for all the victims as it describes how the boys look to Nicholas. Charles Dickens even uses his main character Nicholas "Hell is breeding here" to help the reader understand the conditions and life of the boys in Dotheboys Hall. The quote helps create sympathy because Nicholas can't do much to help the boys of Dotheboys Hall. "You can't wash yourself this morning", the readers even start to feel sorry for Nicholas as he is denied a basic human right to clean. "he looked in dismay around", this gives the reader a clear understanding of what is really happening at the school on top of how evil the school is. It also helps create sympathy for the boys. Furthermore, Dickens uses irony "Lord make us truly thankful!" is ironic as the boys shouldn't be thankful for anything the Squeers are doing for or to them. The exclamation mark demonstrates the shock and surprised the readers must feel.
In addition to the physical, emotional and mental abuse the boys received, Dickens goes further in describing the setting and highlights the standards and poor quality building and its facilities were not up to standard and is very poor in quality. The description of the classroom evokes sympathy for all the victims "ceiling was supported, like that of a barn", "bare and dirty room, with a couple of windows" and "walls stained and discoloured". These evoke sympathy for the boys as it reflects the boys' emotions and the environment the boys study as well as learn in. The boys seem to be suffering in every way possible and they can't do anything about it, this makes the reader want to reach out and help them. Education is very poor at Dotheboys Hall as the headmaster can't even spell "W-i-n, win, d-e-r, der, winder". "practical mode of teaching", this is Mr Squeers way of explaining to Nicholas why the "first boy" isn't in class. This quote explains to the reader the reason some boys do not come to their lessons. He could be busy cleaning windows or being misused for other chores. When Smike and Nicholas-for the first time have a conversation-Smike assumes Nicholas is like his master "he was observed, shrank back, as if expecting a blow", this quote helps the reader understand Smike's character. Smike seems to have lost trust and thinks everyone will hit him like Mr Squeers.
The undeserving punishments the boys receive in the hands of Mr and Mrs Squeers shows the readers how Dickens wanted to encourage social change and improvements by making sure his readers were strongly aware of the terrible social injustices of his time. Charles Dickens has created sympathy for all victims of Dotheboys Hall by describing how life was like in the Victorian era as well as how children were treated, such as the use of brimstone and treacle to spoil their appetites, bad education conditions including "the foul appearance of dirt, disorder, and diseases". One of the key characters Dickens used to create sympathy for all the victims of Dotheboys Hall as well as to pluck at the heartstrings of the reader is Mr Squeers. When we are first introduced to this character we are given strong first impressions about his personality. He seems to care little if at all for anyone else, particularly not about the boys. In my personal opinion, I believe Dickens effectively used language devices to help create more sympathy for the victims of Dotheboys Hall as the chapter goes on. Charles Dickens has used emotive language, language devices as well as punctuation to effectively create sympathy for all victims in chapter 8 of Nicholas Nickleby. Dickens displays sympathy for the boys through Nicholas' eyes and he uses historical context - treacle and brimstone- to also create sympathy for the boys. Dickens has certainly created sympathy for all the victims of Dotheboys Hall.