Dickens' views on education are conveyed best through the contrast he draws
between Betsey Trotwood's firmness and Mr Murdstone's. Murdstone's firmness
overwhelms David, whereas Betsey's firmness lays a sound moral foundation for
his freedom -- "never... be mean in anything; never be false; never be cruel.
Avoid these three vices... and I can always be hopeful of you". David's epic
journey from London to Dover and his emancipation from the imprisonment of the
Murdstone and Grinby factory shows the consequences of these educational methods
in a more literal way; David is literally escaping the moral, physical and
financial imprisonment of the factory for the freedom to explore and develop his
Dickens further emphasises David's imprisonment and freedom by the
decision-making power he is given by Betsey and Murdstone. Murdstone gives David
no choices; he is sent to boarding school, to the factory and the Micawbers'
without consent. Murdstone gives David no credit and no choice in what happens
to him. Miss Betsey on the other hand never forces anything upon David, beyond
her sound moral rules. She helps him to choose his school, where he will live
and where he will work. Betsey gives David the freedom to explore and develop
his interests. This final product of each school shows the benefits of a liberal
education. If David had not left the factory, he would have remained nothing
more than a bottle cleaner for the rest of his life. With Betsey however, David
has the choice and freedom to become whatever he wants.