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Travis and his friends are students at the school who choose to rebel against the system. This is obviously prohibited as all the boys are expected to conform. Their room has Marxist pictures of people who have created freedom, usually though violence. In their free time they are shown to be reading magazines and drinking vodka whilst the ‘whips’ drink tea and crumpets prepared for them by young students. The ‘Crusaders’ as they are known, believe that war is ‘the last possible creative act’ and aspire to create freedom just as their idols have.

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The Crusaders consistently break the rules for which the Whips, using violence, punish them. A scene is shown where the Whips beat the boys harshly for their rebellion against the system. Their ‘unruly elements’ are known to threaten the stability of the house and the Whips and staff believe they should be punished for this, the other students are ordered to sit in silence whilst their punishment is carried out as a warning for them to conform. The Crusaders are angry with society and shoot at the pictures of institutions such as the monarchy and school staff.

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Travis tells his peers that ‘they are on their own now’ and make a pact to have death come to the oppressor which in this case is the school as an institution and their consensus system. The boys are formed in a dominant ideology which includes a hidden curriculum to conform to the rules and regulations to socialise them into the capitalist values. The hidden curriculum consists of things that pupils learn through their experience of attending school rather than the educational objectives. This theory is clearly shown in the film as the system is shown as the key factor in socialising the boys.

Bowles and Gintis reject the claim that capitalist societies are meritocratic but the film shows the claim to be true as those who conform are rewarded by becoming Whips themselves which entitles them to privileges. The Crusaders can be compared to Paul Willis’ study of the ‘Earoles’ and the ‘Lads’. The boys are like the ‘Lads’ in the sense that they are not obedient or docile and often have a ‘laff’ in order to make school more tolerable. They have created their own subculture of rebellion and they see through the capitalist system.

However in comparison to Willis’ study the boys do have an overall view of how the system works to exploit them but they are shown to be sexist towards women. The boys also differ from Willis’ theory in the fact that they do not aspire to do manual work, they are from middle class backgrounds with privilege and will therefore almost certainly continue into well paid and respected occupations. The film presents women initially as passive human beings who are belittled.

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Kylie Garcia

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