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The History Boys ­ Fighting for their Lives
Louisa Mellor analyses Alan Bennett's sustained use of war imagery in The History Boys.
The motif of war recurs throughout Alan Bennett's The History Boys. With references to the Boer war,
the World War 1 battles of Passchendaele and the Somme and…

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In a sensitive expression of fellow feeling at the end of Act One, Posner and Hector discuss the Hardy
poem `Drummer Hodge'. The subtext of this intimate poetry lesson is clear for the audience: Hector is
Hardy, the ageing poet and Posner the lost drummer boy, sent too young into…

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Idiolect in drama

Reading Talking Heads and writing drama texts

In e12/13 Michael Rosen muses about his own idiolect ­ everything that makes his use of language
unique to him. All writers but especially writers of drama, need to think about idiolect when they're
creating characters. In good drama, the…

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unique voice. So Susan, in `Bed Among the Lentils' often uses complex syntax. The side of her that is
the supposedly respectable Vicar's wife is expressed through her syntax, as when she says, `Had this
been a serious ambition I should have seen to it I was equipped with the…

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Mocked as dull and ordinary by the other characters, Rudge plays a significant role in the text,
acting as a counterpoint to the rest of the boys, and offering an alternative perspective on
events. So argues Rachel McIntyre.

In The History Boys, Rudge stands out, in the words of the…

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point of his more limited experience with his friends. Even during the French lessons, Rudge's
suggestion is the sensible `dans un garage' whereas the others choose a `maison de passe'.


What is History?

Of all the characters in the play, he is the boy most distanced from Hector's eccentricity and…

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Here James Middleditch reveals the complex layers of time, both in the construction of the
play and in its thematic exploration of the role of history and literature in people's lives.

At first sight, The History Boys could seem typical of Alan Bennett's distinctive dramatic style: a group
of characters,…

Page 8

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accident will be soon, and not in the more distant future as we may have first thought, increasing the
sense of urgency and inevitability. In this future time, Irwin meets one of the students, identified only, to
begin with, as `Man'. This label also expresses the passing of time through…

Page 9

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Posner: No. Hardy.
Hector: Oh, how old was Hardy? When he wrote this, about sixty. My age, I suppose.

This misunderstanding allows the parallels between the poem and characters to be made through their
ages Posner and Hector become linked to Drummer Hodge and Hardy. This prompts a moving
discussion…

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