How does Alan Bennett express conflicting views about education through his portrayal of the four teachers in « The History Boys »?

1029 Words Mar 20th, 2014 5 Pages
How does Alan Bennett express conflicting views about education through his portrayal of the four teachers in « The History Boys »?

In this play, the author Alan Bennett wants to convince the audience that education can be approached in many different ways. In fact, through the characters of Hector, Irwin, Dorothy Lintott and the headmaster, he shows us that there is no “right” or “wrong” way of teaching.

The first educator properly introduced to the audience is Hector, a rather unusual teacher. The first scene starts in French, which is quite unexpected since Hector is a literature teacher. In this scene, we also understand Hector’s opinion about renowned universities: for him, going to Oxford or Cambridge is the same as going to
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As he explains to Mrs Lintott: “I am thinking league tables. Open scholarships. Reports to the Governors. I want them to do themselves justice. I want them to do you justice. Factually tip-top as your boys always are, something more is required.”, he later says: “I want to be up there with Manchester Grammar, Haberdasher Asks, Leighton Park...”.Felix is a very selfish and stubborn headmaster, that isn’t really paying attention to his students, he only wants his school to succeed. He always want to control the situation, and when he can’t he is very frustrated. For example, when he arrives in the middle of the French lesson Hector is supervising, he is not confident in French at all and is disturbed: “Enough of this…silliness. Not silliness, no…but…”.
It’s due to Mrs Lintott if the boys got such good grades for their A-Levels. During the play, Dorothy isn’t teaching the boys anymore, but she still has an important role since she is the teachers confident, and is seen as neutral, although she has very clear opinions: as she says to the headmaster : “I tend not to distinguish […] between centres of higher learning”. In other words, as long as the boys go to a good university, she isn’t regardful of the reputation. She also brings humour to the play, since she is very honest and often uses taboo language in a very natural way: (about Dakin) “He is a cunt-struck”. Mrs Lintott tells the boys that women have been excluded from their view of

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