Posted by Henry on .
Writeacher, I really need your help to paraphrase the beginning of Chapter 2 taken from Dickens's "Hard Times".
In particular, I would like to simplify Mr. Gradgrind's description, reduce it to a paragraph and turn it into a fill-in-the-blank activity. (I don't know if you can understand my objective..)
"THOMAS GRADGRIND, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, sir-peremptorily Thomas-Thomas Gradgrind. With a rule and a pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple arithmetic. You might hope to get some other nonsensical belief into the head of George Gradgrind, or Augustus Gradgrind, or John Gradgrind, or Joseph Gradgrind (all supposititious, non-existent persons), but into the head of Thomas Gradgrind-no, sir !
"In such terms Mr. Gradgrind always mentally introduced himself, whether to his private circle of acquaintance, or to the public in general. In such terms, no doubt, substituting the words "boys and girls," for "sir," . Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts.
Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of child-hood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away.
I've never read this, and I've had trouble staying interested in much that Dickens wrote! Believe it or not, it's more interesting (and easier) for me to read Shakespeare's works!
My best suggestion is that you go through summaries from Sparknotes, Bookrags, and others to draft summaries of different sections of Dickens' works.