Both writers in the two texts set out the school, at first to seem bad and unwelcoming. This is also the case with the education. Lawrence tries to emphasize the school to have a military theme and the pupils to have no individuality. However Dickens tries to emphasize the pupils to be rejects, not cared for by their parents. Dickens’ school is in very bad condition with poor and few facilities whereas Lawrence’s school is in pretty good condition and is well looked after. Both texts start by describing the appearance of the schools.
Lawrence describes his school as a “prison”. The word prison suggests that the school is lifeless, dull and maybe threatening. Similarly Dickens describes his school as a “barn”. The word barn suggests that the school is dirty, badly constructed and only suitable for animals. Lawrence then goes on further to say the school is an “empty prison”, which suggests that the school is hidden into the surroundings, isolated with no life. However, Dickens describes his school as a “crowded scene”, which suggests that the school is full of life and full of objects to attract attention.
The main classroom in “The Rainbow” is described as “big” with a “squadron” of desks, which suggests the military theme, and the classroom being chilling and threatening. However the main classroom in “Nicholas Nickleby” is described as “bare” and “dirty” with desks “cut and notched”, which suggests that the school is not cared for and that the headmaster does not spend the money given to him for the school, he spends it on himself and family. Another example of this is the appearance of the walls, which are “stained” and “discoloured”.
Both writers emphasize the pupils to be ugly and unwelcoming. Lawrence makes his character, Ursula, think the children are “little” and “ugly”, which suggests that Ursula knows what the children are like, they may be neglected or troublemakers. Similarly Dickens makes his character, Nicholas, think the children are “deformities” that look like “old men”, which suggests that theese children also may be neglected, or not cared for by their parents. Dickens describes the pupils at his school as “silent” and “sad”, which suggests that the pupils are afraid and very badly treated.
However Lawrence describes the pupils at his school to be “smirking and grinning”, in “little noisy gangs”, which suggests the pupils are more human-like and realistic, like in any normal school. In “The Rainbow”, Ursula sees the children as “a collective human thing”, which suggests the children have no individuality. However, in Dickens’ text Nicholas sees the children as if “evil” is inside them, which suggests that the children are possessed by something bad, resulting in that the children can’t be their normal self.
The quality of teaching overall in the two texts is of a very poor standard. In Dickens’ text, Squeers, the head teacher, teaches the spelling of words incorrectly, similarly in Lawrence’s text, Ursula doesn’t teach the children at all, through not being given any advice from the other teachers. In both texts violence is used on the pupils, quite frankly for no apparent reason. In Lawrence’s text, Mr Harby speaks to the children in a threatening way, as does Mr Squeers.
When Mr squeers speaks the children there is a “deathlike silence”, which suggests the children are terrified of him. Similarly, Mr Harby is “hated”. The word hated suggests that no one likes him, maybe others are jealous of him being master or people might want him out of the school. Mr squeers talks to the children in a frightening manor as he threatens a boy to “take the skin off his back”, which suggests that squeers is prepared to hand out a very violent and aggressive thrashing. However, Mr Harby shouts “halt! ” and “forward march!
To the children, which suggests that Mr Harby speaks to the children as if they are in the military, which again suggests that the children have to follow a very strict and smart regime. In both texts, the two teachers, Mr Harby and Mr Squeers, inflict severe violence on the pupils. Mr Harby takes a boy called Hill to the other side of the room and Ursula can still hear “the thud of the cane”, which suggests Mr Harby is giving a severe thrashing so loud. Similarly, Mr squeers is “arming himself” with the cane, which suggests that he uses the cane as a weapon, ready to attack.