Explore the Theme of Outsiders in the History Boys

Topics: Alan Bennett, The History Boys, Richard Griffiths Pages: 2 (540 words) Published: May 15, 2012
Explore the theme of outsiders in act one of The History Boys The theme of outsiders is prominent and reoccurring throughout act one of Alan Bennetts play The History Boys. Bennett’s language choices and dramatic techniques help the reader to understand the theme more comprehensively. Bennett projects the theme of outsiders through characters such as Posner, the head teacher, Irwin, Mrs Lintott and Scripps. Bennett also carefully chooses scenes in which to display the theme of outsiders. This essay will explore the theme of outsiders in act one of The History Boys. Seemingly the most obvious outsider in The History Boys is the character of Posner. From the beginning of the play it is made clear that there is a very tight knit group of boys, of which Posner is not a part of. In act one, it is also revealed that Posner is homosexual and in love with the character of Stuart Dakin. Bennett shows that Posner’s outsider status within his peer group is further worsened by his feeling of being an outsider within wider society too. For example, “I’m a Jew. I’m small. I’m homosexual. And I live in Sheffield. I’m fucked.” This shows Posner’s acknowledgement of his differences and almost an acceptance of permanently being an outsider. The use of full stops and very short sentences stresses the point Posner is making and a feeling of hopelessness is conveyed. Posner is also shown to be an outsider through Alan Bennett’s use of dramatic techniques. For instance, ‘Posner sings a verse or two of ‘Bewitched’ as Scripps plays and the class filters back.’ ‘Posner accompanied by Scripps sings the last verse of ‘When I survey the Wondrous cross’.’ These are both stage directions at the end of the scene. The effect created is one of Posner’s performances being quite insignificant and a lack of interest being shown by Posner’s peers. Again this conveys Posner’s outsider status within The History Boys. Another way it is conveyed is by Hectors unwillingness to take Posner on the back...
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