The History Boys And Educating Rita

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“The History Boys” and “Educating Rita” have common themes running through the spine of each text, regarding formal education and learning for self-satisfaction. The History boys tells the story of 8 academic working and middle class boys from a grammar school in Sheffield whom are applying for Oxford and Cambridge university in the 1980’s and are studying intensely to succeed. Their teachers, Hector and Irwin have a conflicting approach to education. Irwin teaches the boys specifically how to pass their exams but contrarily Hector teaching style encourages learning for the purpose of obtaining knowledge. Bennett comments on these differing types of education via the characters of Hector and Irwin. Educating Rita, set also in the 1980’s and located in Northern England is about a woman who enters the world of formal university education as a mature student on an Open University course. She has never had a strict and authentic education as she comes from a working class background, so she wants to prove to herself that she can triumph and live a better life. Both scripts imply that formal education can be obtained, however at the compromise of individual intellectual flare and distinctiveness. Initially in the text, Rita and the group of boys both are unrefined, raw and sincere with their way of viewing and analysing scholarly stimulus. However they both lose this quality as the plays progress due to the education system moulding them to pass exams and not to obtain wisdom.
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