• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The History Boys. Consider the significance of finding your way in life, in relation to the characters in the play.

Extracts from this document...


Essay « Most of the stuff poetry's about hasn't happened to us yet » Timms Essay question: Consider the significance of finding your way in life, in relation to the characters in the play. The History Boys is a play written Alan Bennett. It premiered on the 18th may 2004. The action of the play takes place in a all-boys grammar school in Sheffield, in the 1980's. It’s also important to keep in mind the fact that back then, England was under Thatcher’s conservative regime. The play follows a group of history pupils preparing for the Oxbridge entrance examinations under the guidance of three teachers (Hector, Irwin and Mrs Lintott) with contrasting styles. The play doesn’t just follow the boys is education, it also talks about love and there sexual inclinations. The writer's intention is to show the different opinions on education and the different ways of teaching. The opposite ways of teaching are represented by Hector and Irwin. Missus Lintott is a middle ground between the two. Alan Bennett also shows us what the education was like in the north of England in the 1980's. The aim of this book is also to prove that you can succeed, even if you are from a working class background. Bennett proves this with the fact that all the boys got in to either Cambridge or Oxford. Alan Bennett was inspired by his life when he wrote this novel because in some way, he has lived a similar life as most of the students, especially Posner. ...read more.


He plans it carefully, then executes perfectly. Even Mrs. Lintott says that he is cunt-struck or sly. Instead of being bad or naughty like normal teenagers, he plays something more challenging. We can see it through his “love” story. Even though he has a relationship with Fiona, a school staff, he flirts with Irwin for he thinks that Irwin might be homosexual and would like to go out having some drink with him. Drink here is meant to be connotative. He might be a bisexual. And yet, he does that just for fun, just for saying thank to Irwin, and just for answering his curiosity about Irwin’s way of life. Talking about his curiosity, he often raises trapped question that nobody can answer. Yes, he is very charming and smart. But that’s all we know. He is flat since he doesn’t involve us to his psychological aspect. It is interesting to notice that he is much more relaxed and confident with Irwin once he's certain of going to Oxford. When he asks him to do sexual things for example: “(…) what I was really wondering was whether there were any circumstances in which there was any chance of your sucking me off.(p.99)» He is so confident that he feels somewhat superior to Irwin. Especially since he admitted he went to Bristol. As said previously, Dakin went on to be a tax lawyer. We can say that he succeeded in life and that he found his way in life too. ...read more.


Those three teachers will all help the boys in their quest to pass the Oxbridge exams. But finding your way in life isn?t just passing exams and getting a good job as Hector rightly points out:? "And what happens after the exam? Life goes on." Finding your way in life is also finding the right woman or man and knowing more about yourself each day. In my personal opinion, finding your way in life is also going from thinking to living, from theory to practice. So as we have seen, there are a two opposite takes on education but there is a common aim: to protect students against the miseries of life. Each student followed the the vision of education he thought was best. Some students like Dakin preferred Irwin?s philosophy because he thought the professional aspect was more important than the cultural and the ideological aspect which Posner privileged. I guess this play?s message is : ?choose what you like and what you feel is more important. Nowadays, that question is still asked to students, implicitly, when they have to choose which university to go to. The popularity of this message in the play is evident from the fact all the intrigue of the play is based around the question of: Will the boys pass the Oxbridge exams? This shows the importance of finding your way in life but it also reminds students of today?s society how important it is to find the right path. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Play Writes section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

*** 3 STARS

This essay shows a knowledge and understanding of the play but its very logical structure ie. of taking each character separately, limits discussion and exploration to a certain extent. Quotes are appropriate and support statements and there is social and historical context throughout the essay.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 07/08/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Play Writes essays

  1. Examine the different levels of comedy in Synge's Playboy of the Western World.

    The visual presentation here helps us realize what we think of him as opposed to the courage of Christy that everyone is fond of and calls him a hero before they learn the truth. Synge uses irony as a man tool to depict comedy in the play.

  2. Evoking the past is one of the most important strategies in the practice of ...

    visiting his friends and relatives. It is customary at this ceremony that the friends and relatives of the deceased celebrate, reminisce and reflect the life of their loved one. The ceremony "aims to free the dead, of the past, so that the spirit may move forward to the next stage in afterlife."(Renu Juneja).

  1. Eugene ONeills Before Breakfast portrays the tale of a couple entangled in a lengthy ...

    Rowland, on the other hand, has a job and is trying her hardest to make ends meet and to make it to the next day.

  2. Pygmalion. The identity of Eliza how does it change and is it for ...

    The significance of this is that, it's as if she doesn't have an identity, however she does have some sort of identity with her personality. "Thank you kindly, lady." "I'm a good girl, I am." This evidence shows how she is has a general sense of manners, she treats people

  1. How does Bennett present different teaching styles in 'The History Boys'?

    I give them the wherewithal to resist it' he says, in conversation with factual Mrs. Lintott. Hector's teaching style is lively and compassionate, teaching the boys to love what they do. In contrast, Irwin, who is hired to prepare the boys for their exams, is totally centered on exam techniques.

  2. Mrs Lintott - The History Boys

    "Mrs Lintott: What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket." She teaches boys, and is surrounded by male figures, so cannot express herself or make the students or teachers identify with these views. In this line Mrs Lintott is displaying how she believes that women's history is

  1. The Representation of Post-war Britain in "Look Back in Anger".

    The mood of the apartment is very monotonous and Jimmy adds to this by highlighting their repetitious lifestyles. ?Why do I do this every Sunday?? The rhetorical question not only emphasises their weekly routines, but also has connotations of religion.

  2. A tragicomedy is a comedy with serious elements or overtones*. To what extent can ...

    Another example is when Hector hits the boys for using ?foul, festering, grubby-minded? language. This is slapstick humour, commonly found in comedies, originating out of a serious ?element? of a teacher hitting their students. However, some would argue the play couldn?t be classed as a comedy at all, as it

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work