Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

"She said we weren't being taught enough, something like that."

"Taught enough? You mean she thinks we should be studying even harder than we are?"

"No, I don't think she meant that. What she was talking about was, you know, about us. What's going to happen to us one day. Donations and all that."

"But we have been taught about all that," I said. "I wonder what she meant. Does she think there are things we haven't been told yet?" (3.28-31)

This is the first we hear about Miss Lucy's desire to tell the students the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Tommy and Kathy think they've already learned everything there is to know about their futures. But notice Tommy's ambiguous language when he says "Donations and all that." What does "all that" refer to? Or does Tommy not know yet?

Quote #2

"The problem, as I see it, is that you've been told and not told. You've been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way. But I'm not. If you're to have decent lives, you have to know who you are and what lies ahead of you, every one of you." (7.20)

You might say Miss Lucy is a bit of a downer here. She thinks students deserve to know their depressing fate and is upset that the students have been "told and not told" the truth. If the students have been "told and not told," then have they been lied to? Or have they just not understood? At the end of the day—who's really responsible?

Quote #3

Tommy thought it possible the guardians had, throughout all our years at Hailsham, timed very carefully and deliberately everything they told us, so that we were always just too young to understand properly the latest piece of information. But of course we'd take it in at some level, so that before long all this stuff was there in our heads without us ever having examined it properly. (7.26)

Tommy has come up with quite the conspiracy theory. The guardians at Hailsham seem to be masters at slipping information into the students' heads without the students even knowing about it. Is this effective parenting? Or good teaching? Or is it just plain old brainwashing?

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