What are the parallels between Notes on a Scandal and The History Boys?

There are many parallels between the novel Notes On a Scandal and the play The History Boys. Both are set in English schools. Both center on an older teacher and a younger teacher and improper sexual relationships with students. In both works, the teens tend to be rather salacious and mischievous. In The History Boys, the boys put on a skit about a French brothel. In Scandal, students heckle Sheba Hart, a young female teacher.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are many parallels between the novel Notes On a Scandal (also a movie) and the play The History Boys (also a movie).

The first parallel is the setting. Both works take place in schools in England. Yet Scandal is set in the big city of London, while History Boys ...

View
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

There are many parallels between the novel Notes On a Scandal (also a movie) and the play The History Boys (also a movie).

The first parallel is the setting. Both works take place in schools in England. Yet Scandal is set in the big city of London, while History Boys unfolds in the smaller city of Sheffield.

Back to similarities. Both works focus on two teachers of significant age differences. With History Boys, we have 60-year-old Hector and the young Oxford graduate Irwin. In Scandal, we have Barbara, who's also in her 60s, and the young art teacher Sheba Hart.

The younger teachers have to confront some relatively rowdy and salacious students. What are the boys doing before they first encounter Irwin? They're putting on a skit involving a French brothel. Likewise, when Sheba confronts her students, how do they greet her? They heckle her with, "Show us your tits." They also ask her why she isn't wearing a slip.

The sexual nature of both works isn't just because of the students. The teachers are sexual as well. In both works, teachers engage in illicit sexual behavior with the students. In History Boys, both Hector and Irwin have some kind of improper sexual relationship with the students. In Scandal, Sheba has an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of her students.

The relationships, though, are rather dissimilar. In History Boys, neither Hector nor Irwin maintain a relationship as intense and extensive as the one portrayed in Scandal.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team