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'To what extent are pages 63 to 67 typical of Alan Bennett's style and themes in 'The History Boys?'

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Introduction

English Literature coursework Mrs Enright Rebecca Wilson 12CM 'To what extent are pages 63 to 67 typical of Alan Bennett's style and themes? Written in 2004, Alan Bennett's 'The History Boys', explores a number of themes surrounding the sexual and intellectual developments of a group of potential scholars, as well as their unusual relationships with their teachers Hector and Irwin. Alan also gives numerous, controversial perspectives on history, teaching and the importance of status, over that of life enhancing literature. Indeed, the theme of sexuality and sexual self discovery play's a key role in the play through not just the teacher's actions, but also the adolescent boys. 'The transmission of knowledge is in itself an erotic act', although this portrays Hector as using literature, as an 'elastoplast' to cover up the awkward truth, the motif of sexual tension in the classroom builds as the play progresses, proving Hector's theory as correct. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, as the title suggests, a key theme in Bennett's play is both the curricular subject, History, as well as how it plays a spontaneous role in the plays events. Indeed, the theory that History is 'just one fucking thing after another' emphasises the role that chance and fate play in history, and effectively demonstrate how one small event can affect history extensively. Indeed, Hector's homosexual acts with his pupils were revealed, merely by the chance that Mrs Armstrong was not just working 'one afternoon a week at the charity shop'. Moreover, the final scenes of the play epitomise the idea of chance and minor events resulting in momentous occasions, 'And here history rattled over the points...', 'going round the corner he moved out instead of in'. This trivial, slight change in position caused the death and disablement of the two protagonists of the play. Additionally, teaching is a prominent theme highlighted by Bennett, with the methods of the two protagonists, Hector and Irwin contrasting greatly. ...read more.

Conclusion

The boys, initially struggle with Irwin's style of 'turning facts on their head' as they have been so settled with Mrs Lintott simply supplying the 'facts' however they eventually acknowledge that it is 'like a game'. However, it is not simply the 'game' to achieve a scholarship that is explored by Bennett, this extended metaphor throughout the play is seen in other forms, firstly gambling, 'Pay up, pay up and play the game' as well as the suditude of Hector's covert dealings, 'who can I give a lift home?'. In conclusion, Alan Bennett uses numerous styles and techniques to create an enthralling, witty, and reflective play that is able to explore many controversial topics and leave the audience with a poignant message in its final scenes; Irwin's survival, suggests that leaning 'the opposite way to everybody else', although morally incorrect and somewhat selfish will prove more beneficial than simply holding the ability to recite poetry; a certain irony surrounds Hector's view that poetry has the medicinal quality to protect and form 'death-beds'. 1,000 words ...read more.

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