Alan Bennett’s The History Boys opens with a framing device set several years after the primary action of the play. Irwin, confined to a wheelchair, is lecturing about politics. In the midst of it, he is reminded of school and flashes back to his days as a teacher. The scene shifts to Hector’s classroom where he teaches General Studies, a title he acknowledge was adopted because of the Headmaster’s inability to quantify what his lessons entail. His classroom consists of eight boys: Crowther, Akthar, Dakin, Lockwood, Posner, Rudge, Scripps, and Timms. The boys discuss their upcoming exams and the character of Hector’s classroom is established: raucous, playful, unstructured, and filled with quotes from literature, popular culture of the past, and music. Bennett also establishes the structure of the play, in which scenes shift rapidly and characters often spontaneously narrate action to the audience.
(The entire section is 147 words.)
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