Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
8 October 2012
Thou shalt bruise them with a rod of iron: and break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Psalm 2, verse 9 (Book of Common Prayer text, 1662)
The following is an extract from “A Cab at the Door”, the first volume, published in 1968, of the autobiography of Ipswich-born UK novelist and critic V. S. Pritchett (1900-1997). It concerns Rosendale Road School at Herne Hill, London, which Pritchett joined at the age of 11. The pupils who attended came mainly from working-class and lower middle-class backgrounds.
“In most schools such a crowd [of pupils] was kept in order by the cane. Girls got it as much as the boys and snivelled afterwards. To talk in class was a crime, to leave one’s desk inconceivable. Discipline was meant to encourage subservience, and to squash rebellion – very undesirable in children who would grow up to obey orders from their betters. No child here would enter the ruling classes unless he was very gifted and won scholarship after scholarship. A great many boys from these schools did so and did rise to high places; but they had to slave and crush part of their lives, to machine themselves so that they became brain alone. They ground away at their lessons, and, for all their boyhood and youth and perhaps all their lives, they were in the ingenious torture chamber of the examination halls. They were brilliant, of course, and some when they grew up tended to be obsequious to the ruling class and ruthless to the rest, if they were not tired out. Among them were many who were emotionally infantile.”
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.