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Orwell and “Such, Such Were the Joys”

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The use of guilt is an effective tool as a means of controlling people. By instilling a sense that one is responsible for certain deeds and actions, it makes that individual seemed tied down. In George Orwell’s “Such, Such Were the Joys …”, the schoolmasters utilize this emotion as a persuasion device towards the young, gullible boys. Through this exercise, the schoolmasters were able to effectively control their pupil’ actions and emotions.

The main schoolmasters Bingo and Sim, used this technique to enforce their authority over the unknowing children. A clear instance is when the boys were being weeded out for their “sexual” activity. Masturbation and homosexuality were highly inappropriate at the boarding school. When rumors began at the school of such activities, Bingo and Sim tried to single out children. Obviously, that was a quite a difficult task to do with a plethora of young boys. The tactic that they used was overall guilt on everybody. They told the boys ridiculous signs and symptoms of people who were engaging in those promiscuous activities. However, the younger boys – oblivious to sexual entities at that age – did not specifically know what the real crime was. Sim and Bingo exploited their ignorance to such deeds, and made all the boys feels so guilty to the point that those who were innocent felt guilty. Like, the protagonist, he felt so shamed and dirtied even thought he clearly did not congress in such act. Sexually innocent was what a majority of the boys were; however to enforce their control and law, the schoolmasters used everyone. The strategy of using the most unlikely boy as an example, instilled a terror that was much more effective into the minds of all the boys. The thought that anyone of them could be this bad “masturbator” was simply unthinkable and that “masturbators” were people whom one can spot easily.

Similarly, the guilt tactic was also used as an influence to the success of boys. Academically and socially, the poorer boys were often berated by the teachers and, worse, their own peers. The poorer boys were treated with much less respect and dignity. The teachers often told them that they couldn’t make it in life because of their economic status. What a person was born into was more important than what he could potentially be. Often Bingo would tell the poorer boys that they would not make it in life if they did not goto the “good” public schools and if  they failed to do so they would ruin their life forever. Guilt brought out the fear that the boys would “ruin” their life forever, giving them motivation to work harder and break from their stationary “positions”. Furthermore, Sims and Bingo would tell the boys that if they failed academically and socially, it also meant that they failed their schoolmasters. The two antagonists deeply ingrained into the boys’ heads that they worked extremely hard to bring the boys to where they are and where they will be. By doing so, the “scholarship boys” were given a sense of obligation to the schoolmasters of repaying them for their “kindness and generosity” for all that they did and sacrificed.

A child’s mind and emotions are easily fooled to by the world. Their innocence and ignorance to many experiences and the vast knowledge, leaves them vulnerable to the vultures that would prey upon their gullibility. At Crossgates, the schoolmasters played with the boys to keep them under their control and emotionally scarred the boys, possibly for life, with the tactics they used.

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