Victorian school

‘A kestrel for a knave’ is set in the 1960’s in a medium sized town similar to Barnsley in Yorkshire. Schools at this time where split into two-tier. At 11 pupils had to take an exam to determine whether they would go to a secondary modern school or a grammar school. In the football scene the teacher Mr. Sugden bullies Billy because he cannot play football. Mr. Sugden is a PE teacher at a local secondary modern school. Mr. Sugden’s appearance is very neat and tidy. In the football scene Sugden was dressed in a ‘ violet tracksuit’. ‘The top was embellished with cloth badges’.

Sugden is very violent towards his pupils especially Billy. ‘Mr. Sugden bounced the ball on Billy’s head compressing his neck into his shoulders’. Mr. Sugden takes four main parts in this scene. Sugden taking these parts shows he is in control throughout the scene. Sugden is very aggressive throughout the football scene. ‘Slack work lad, slack work. ‘ Sugden’s frustration is pushed to the limit when a dog appears on the pitch. ‘If Mr. Sugden had a gun, Mr. Wolf would have been dead in no time. ‘ Sugden has an inferior attitude towards all his pupil’s in particular.

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Mr. Sugden believes Billy is an idiot. Sugden makes Billy feel small when he says ‘hand up if you saw Casper have a shower’. This also shows Billy has no friends at school. Mr. Sugden believes that he is good enough to teach at a grammar school, but we know he is not. Standard English is the proper way expression should be written down and said. Standard English is more formal than the local dialect or language used in different parts of the country. Billy uses his local dialect all the time. He has not been taught Standard English.

Everyone around Billy, his friends, family and neighbors use the local dialect so Billy has never learnt it. Mr. Sugden uses formal English. Although he may slip up and use local dialect. Mr. Sugden refers to Billy as ‘lad’, because Sugden feels Billy has no meaning. In Sugdens eyes Billy is only there to be taught by him and to learn. Billy refers to Sugden as ‘sir’ because he is made to respect him because Sugden is a teacher and Billy is a pupil. Sugden uses long and complicated words when he is talking to his class. Words such as ‘stimulating’ are used by Mr.

Sugden. These difficult words are a trap set by Sugden to confuse Billy and make him look a fool in front of the class. Sugdens patronizing ways toward Billy are very recognizable in the way that Sugden always alls Billy ‘lad’ and ‘fool’. Barry Hines the writer adds brackets to the different roles Sugden plays, for example (teacher) or (player) to show how important and how much control Mr. Sugden has over the game. ‘Billy like a brave little clown’. Language like this shows Billy as a brave dreamer who knows how to laugh at himself and not feel upset by his friends.

The use of similes helps to show that Billy is a dreamer and is never going to fit into this sort of school. I think the writer chose action scene to introduce Sugden because on the football pitch we get to see Mr. Sugdens true colours. Sugden believes he has an authority on the football pitch, which comes across very strongly towards the pupils. In order to really know what Sugden is like we need to see him at his absolute worst. The football scene shows this. I think the writer chose an action scene to introduce Sugden because on the football pitch we get to see Mr. Sugden’s true colours. Mr.

Sugden believes he has an authority on the football pitch, which comes across very strongly toward the pupils. Barry Hines is a very skilled writer. This is shown by the way he uses standard and non-standard english in his work. In a ‘Kestrel for a knave’ for example the main characters are from Yorkshire and have very broad and recognisable accents. If Hines were to use standard english throughout the book, we would not get a full picture of the characters. ‘Hard Times’ – Charles Dickens ‘Hard times’ is set in a fictional town called Coketown. The work of the people that live in the town was treacherous.

This particular novel is based around a Victorian school. Schools of this period were extremely bad and teachers would not think twice about using violence on his/her pupils. The teacher in this novel Mr. Thomas Gradgrind is know exception. Mr. Gradgrind believes in teaching children in his class’s pure facts and nothing else. ‘Now what I want is facts’. ‘Teach these boys and girls nothing but facts’. ‘Facts alone are wanted in life’. Gradgrind is also a man of very harsh realities and ‘proceeds upon the principle that two and two are for and nothing else’.

In this extract, we see Mr. Gradgrind advising a student teacher on how to teach a class. Gradgrind (the speaker) is described as square and stubborn. ‘The emphasis was helped by the speaker’s square wall of a forehead, which had his eyebrows for its base’. Gradgrind is also said to have a ‘wide, thin and hard set’ mouth. His head is described as a ‘warehouse-room for hard facts stored inside’. Mr. Gradgrind like any teacher has his favorite pupils. Gradgrinds favorites are usually pupils who are bright and intelligent. Gradgrind doesn’t like children as a rule.

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