Task 3B: Current and future developments in British society

In this task, you are invited to read two extracts, one from “A Kestrel for a Knave” (1968) and one from “A Week in December” (2009). Furthermore, you should use these excerpts as a base for a discussion about current and future developments in British society and what we can learn from them.

Summary: “A Kestrel for a Knave”

This extract comes from the novel “A Kestrel for a Knave” (1968) by English writer Barry Hines. The main events take place in a school assembly hall, during the morning religious prayer. The school is only for boys and the regime is very strict, as the head teacher, Mr Gryce, instils fear in everyone. When a boy disrupts the morning prayer with his cough, he is violently dragged out in front of the group and sent to Mr Gryce’s office.

Summary: “A Week in December”

The extract comes from the novel “A Week in December” (2009) written by British author Sebastian Faulks. A teacher named Radley Graves struggles because his job involves dealing with difficult situations. At first, when he did not have enough experience with students, he engaged in several conflicts that ended up with him being suspended or sent to anger management courses. After another teacher offered sensible advice, Graves has begun to act according to the school’s system, which involved giving students all kinds of liberties and rights. In the school, students are allowed to arrive late, to refuse work, to swear (without sexual or racial connotations) and, overall, to rule over teachers.

Discussion: developments in British society

The two extracts you have to analyse come from novels written 41 years apart.

Through the two extracts, we learn that British society has developed a gr...

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