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The History Boys

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Charlie Burns

on 27 April 2014

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Transcript of The History Boys

The History Boys
Characteristics: Hector is an eccentric teacher who believes education is for life and is strongly against exams and following t crowd to "top" universities. He is a mellow and unconventional teacher and is seen as a bit of a joke to most of the boys.
Themes: culture, the joy of teaching, detest for the status qou, drama, lust.
Key quotes: 'You don't always understand it? Timms, I never understand it. But learn it now, know it now and you will understand it... whenever.” “The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”
Stylistic features of spoken language: Hector speaks in long, drawn out sentences using as many linguistic techniques as possible. He also quotes lines from culture such as poems, books or films, no matter what the context. He also does not change the way he speaks depending on who he's talking to which is quite rare in a person.
Mrs. Lintott
Characteristics: Irwin is a young and eager man who only intends on teaching for a short time, he believes in teaching the boys only what they need to know for the exam and looking at history from different and interesting angles to impress oxbridge universities.
Themes: strict, educational, exam-heavy, secretive, remaining distant from the boys.
Key quotes: “Why do we not care to acknowledge them? The cattle, the body count. We still don't like to admit the war was even partly our fault because so many of our people died. A photograph on every mantlepiece. And all this mourning has veiled the truth. It's not so much lest we forget, as lest we remember. Because you should realise the Cenotaph and the Last Post and all that stuff is concerned, there's no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it.”
Stylistic features of spoken language: Irwin speaks, for the most part, in short statements, especially upon first meeting the boys, this could be due to the nerve of teaching, or it may be because he is trying to distance himself and not become to friendly with the students so that he is still seen as authoritative.
Characteristics: The Headmaster is a stubborn and proud man who is only concerned with the boys going to oxbridge for the schools reputation, he is also sexually harassing Fiona which he confesses to later in the play.
Themes: pride, image, exams.
Key quotes: "Everybody says that. 'Hull? Oh, Larkin.' I don't know about the poetry...as I say, I was a geographer...but as a librarian he was pitiless. The Himmler of the Accessions Desk. And now, we're told, women in droves.
Art. They get away with murder.” "I want to be up there with Manchester Grammar, Haberdasher Asks, Leighton Park... or is that an open prison? No matter."
Stylistic features of spoken language: The Headmaster speaks in a dominant and threatening voice, though it still maintains an amount of professionalism. He tries to use big words in order to sound intelligent but is actually rather dumb which is shown by this over-compensation.
Characteristics: Mrs. Lintott acts as possibly thee most normal and wisest of the three teachers, she is the perfect balance between educational, professional and still a friend to the boys. She gives Irwin a lot of advice and has a strong dislike for the Headmaster. She is also later revealed to be quite a strong feminist.
Themes: feminism, sense, wisdom, knowledge.
Key quotes: “One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them.” “History is a commentary on the various and continuing in-capabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket.”
Stylistic features of spoken language: Mrs. Lintott speaks in a similar, overly dramatized manor, to Hector, only without the constant quotes. Instead, Mrs. Lintott uses extensive amounts of evidence to often back up what ever she is saying, as almost everything she says is advice or a point she is trying to convey.
Characteristics: Dakin is the "pretty boy" of the group. He is also very intelligent and one of the most important roles in the play amongst the boys. He is seeing Fiona the schools secretary, but develops a crush for Mr. Irwin. He is also closest with Scripps out of all the boys and it appears as if the two are best friends.
Themes: sex, growing up, the exam, pleasing Irwin
Key quotes: “Clichés can be quite fun. That's how they got to be clichés.” "How do you think history happens?" "The more you read, though, the more you'll see that literature is actually about losers... It's consolation. All literature is consolation."
Stylistic features of spoken language: Dakin uses a lot of metaphors, he describes Fiona as the western front and describes how he's "attacking" it. He also uses a lot of sarcasm and tends to try and joke with everything he says. Hiss language indicates that he doesn't take school very seriously and is more concerned with his journey into the world of sex.
Characteristics: Scripps is highly religious and spends a lot of his time praying. He's a fairly innocent and normal boy and is intelligent like most of the boys. He's Dakin's closest friend and the two often discuss things between them. Scripps religion forbids any sexual activity until after marriage and due to this, he receives alot of teasing from Dakin.
Themes: Religion, wisdom, ordinary, innocence, kindness
Key quotes: " No more genital massage as one speed along leafy suburban roads. No more the bike's melancholy long withdrawing roar as he dropped you at the corner, you honor still intact."
Stylistic features of spoken language: Scripps language is probably the most balanced of the boys, while he still remains intelligent in the words he uses and the complexity of his sentences, he still swears and talks about sex with Dakin as a normal teenager would. Scripps is also the one character who will often break the forth wall in order to narrate what is happening in the play.
Characteristics: Posner is the least fortunate of all the boys; he is Jewish, small, pale, weak and has a crush on Dakin leading him to believe he's going through a homosexual "phase" that he isn't sure he wants to end. He also enjoys singing hims which causes problems with his parents. His pure reason for getting into Oxbridge is so that Dakin will respect him.
Themes: Detachment from religion, homosexuality, love, sex.
Key quotes: "I'm a Jew, I'm small; I'm homosexual, and I live in Sheffield. [pause] I'm f***ed." " But to put something in context is a step towards saying it can be understood and that it can be explained. And if it can be explained then it can be explained away."
Stylistic features of spoken language: Posner takes Hector's lessons to heart and so his language is also very similar to Hectors. He speaks in a rather sophisticated manor but still sounds clueless and lost most of the time. He also uses references like Hector, though not nearly as often, and is known to burst into song mid speech.
Characteristics: Rudge is the least intelligent of all the boys, and is barely clever at all. Rudge isn't really bothered about getting into one of the top universities and is only trying because everyone else is. He takes everything all the teachers say very literally and makes lots of notes. He is very keen on sport and appears very stressed out through out the whole play.
Themes: Sport, struggle, average intelligence, keeping up with the crowd.
Key quotes: "How do I define history? It's just one fuckin' thing after another."
Stylistic features of spoken language: Rudge swears a lot and never speaks more than a few words at a time except on rare occasions. His language is very dumbed down compared to the rest of the boys and he often uses basilect when pronouncing words, leaving out letters or words.
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