Thb Essay Question

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“The comedy in The History Boys centres around the opposition created between the two teachers, Hector and Irwin.” What is the significance of Bennett’s use of opposition?

The book ‘The History Boys’ provides opposition between the two teachers Hector and Irwin. These two characters are presented by Bennett to show the audience the difference in the teaching of both characters. Hector is described on page four as ‘a man of studied eccentricity. He wears a bow tie.’ By this, we get a first impression that Hector makes effort for how he dresses as we could say he dresses to impress. On the other hand, we have someone like Irwin. Irwin in the book is presented as ‘Irwin is a young man, about twenty-five or so’. By this, as readers of the book, we sense that Hectors traditional teaching style contrasts to Irwin’s methods of turning questions on its head.

Firstly, now that we know a bit of information about Hector, we then know that the way that Hector teaches the boys is more practical, this meaning that he does not teach from things such as books, instead he does things such as role plays in French. Hector believes that the boys should “You believe in God. Believe also in me: forget Oxford and Cambridge.” Bennett uses things like these to show the significance in teaching but also the significance of belief. The belief being you can be happy wherever you go. Hector also shows that he has a special bond with the students by showing that when he hits them, they know he is more comfortable with them. In contrast to Irwin; Irwin is the type of teacher who will say what’s on his mind, for example on page nineteen, Irwin suggests things such as “Has anybody been to Rome? No? Well, you will be competing with boys and girls who have.” However, he then says “But I wouldn’t waste the money. Judging by these, there is no point. Go to Newcastle and be happy.” This emphasises that competition is fierce and that it will be harder to go where themselves or their parents...
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