Friday, September 18, 2015

Education for low status

"Father and me was both brought up at a foundation school for boys; and mother, she was likewise brought up at a public, sort of charitable, establishment. They taught us all a deal of umbleness—not much else that I know of, from morning to night. We was to be umble to this person, and umble to that; and to pull of our caps here, and make vows there; and always to know our place, and  abuse ourselves before our betters. And we had  such a lot of betters! Father got the monitor-medal by being humble. So did I. Father got made a sexton  by being umble. He had the character, among the gentle folks, of being such a well-behaved man,  that they were determined to bring him in. 'Be umble, Uriah,' says father to me, 'and you'll get on. It was what was always being dinned into you and me at school; it's what goes down best. Be umble,' says father, 'and you'll do!' And really it ain't done bad!"
It was the first time it had ever occurred to me, that this detestable cant of false humility might have originated out of the Heep family. I had seen the harvest, but had never thought of the seed.
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850), ch. 39

No comments:

Post a Comment