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The History Boys

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Emily Pawlowski

on 4 June 2014

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Transcript of The History Boys

Overview & Plot
Irwin is hired to teach the boys how to get into the top universities in the country
Hector is an older teacher whose methods of teaching are non-traditional and concentrate on the classics and on an understanding and appreciation of literature.
Irwin teaches the boys how to present themselves in a college interview
Hector's relationship with the boys is revealed as inappropriate and Irwin is told to watch him
The boys struggle with their own love lives and one of the boys
Posner questions his sexuality and is the first one to open up to Irwin
It is revealed that Irwin has some of the same tendencies as Hector
Hector ends up dying in a motorcycle crash that paralyzes Irwin
Exact Thesis
Alan Bennett’s characterization of Hector, Irwin, the Headmaster, Mrs. Lintott, and the Boys, as well as the juxtaposition of their personalities and objectives, reveals the struggles of both students and teachers in the midst of adapting with a changing education system.
Analysis v. Literary Criticism
i agree with the analysis from my literary criticisms

Hector was the only one, despite his questionable actions, who kept the students interests and integrity in mind
Irwin eventually tries to befriend Hector
The boys never speak about what Hector does outside of their small group
Posner confronts Irwin about what happened
Irwin is dismissive and defensive towards him
no one ever really comes to terms with their sexuality or flaws
Literary Criticism
p 67 " Shall I tell you... I can categorize"
p 60 " I've forgotten... that it would be therapeutic"
p 5 " If, heaven forfend... cherry now?"

The History Boys
by Alan Benntt
"Hit and Miss" by John Lahr
theater review
a little background on Bennett
went to Oxford as a medival historian
wrote The History Boys at 71 yrs old
learned about Hector and his love of knowledge, and life
the French Scene
Posner's feelings for Dakin
the sexual confusion parallels Bennetts' own frustration as youth
critique of British public education
Oxbridge system emphasizes presentation over penetration( the deeper understanding)
"Rivals for Young Hearts and Minds in Alan Bennett's 'History Boys'" by Ben Brantly
the battle between Irwin and Hector for the respect and attention of the boys
most moral figure is Hector, despite hitting and fondling the students
Grammer school in mid 1980's
Irwin- facts are beside the point
Hector- learning is a defense against solitude
analysis of the French brothel scene
complexity of emotions: doubt, perplexity, and eroticism
characterization of Headmaster
"Editorial" by Gary Snapper
Hector's views as an enrichment of life
Headmaster is corrupted by exam results and Oxbridge acceptances
Suggests the irony of the words that Headmaster speaks at Hectors memorial service
labels the play a satire
explains the some of the British school system
Full transcript