Every one of us have gone into high school and experienced how it is to be with various types of individuals who are also in the stage of exploring life. In the novel written by Evan Hunter the “Blackboard Jungle” he narrates the life of a high school dilemma due to the attitude of his students. The professor Rick Dadier faced difficult challenges due to his passion to create change within the discipline of the students. Such challenges are the violent actions of his students as well as disturbance with his relationship with his wife.
Through looking at such story, some may think that the Blackboard Jungle is not applicable in this time of age. In comparing the year 1955 to 2009, it would seem that nothing could be similar within both American societies. Many changes had been done such as the technology, the political regime and the likes. However after seeing the novel, some may assume that it the novel is not applicable to the current situation of schools in the United States. Moreover, the book exemplifies longevity due to the issues it tackles and addressed.
Similar to the book, schools in the United States are still facing the same issues as before. There are students who have low discipline and low respect to their teachers. They rebel against the school system. There are students who belittle their teachers and disregard their academic learning for they do not believe in such. Their priority is to do whatever they like without the guidance of their professors. In general there is violence against students as well as to school authorities. In more extreme cases, there are students who plot to kill their teachers due for some reason. One of the proofs is the plotted killing of third graders to their teacher which occurred in Orlando, Florida. For the reason that the students did not like the disciplinary action (she made her student stand on a chair) the teacher had done to one of their classmates they plotted to kill her as to make revenge in her wrong actions (Fox News) Although there are no direct indication of their teacher being hurt or wounded due to their plot, having a planned murder still conveys that the minds of students are against disciplinary actions as well as their teacher. Thus, the students still portrays the same dislike to their teacher which is relative to the novel.
At present, schools are way different than before. Today there are many technological advances which are already implemented in order to promote greater educational learning for students. There are computers, audio visual equipments and etc which make learning for students more enjoyable and interactive. In terms of discipline, students are taught on how to follow their professors therefore making them good citizens of the country. There are various types of punishments made to the students if they commit terrible actions such as detention, dismissal, and etc. Although such punishments apply to students who commit improper actions to their classmates, school property or school authority.
In the current situations of schools, it is known that violence had been one of the most discussed and most controversial. There are many incidents that students faced traumatizing experiences due to the amount of violence within the school. One the news in which tackles violence in school is the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007(Cable News Network). Although there were no deaths discussed in the novel, there are sets of students who brought deadly weapons in school in order to protect themselves against assumed violence. In addition, such students feel powerful and are feared by other students. Thus, having weapons creates power for the students. In relation to the Virginia Tech massacre, students are still bringing deadly weapons in school for their own protection. Therefore, having such types of materials are still present in schools. Ergo, violence is still with the school of United States. Accordingly, the government is still unable to have full control of the violent actions which could possibly happen. There are no proper security measures which are done in order to hinder such actions made by students similar to those that are done by the students in the novel. The author, having been the experienced the life of being a public school teacher in New York City (Evan Hunter) revealed to him how students interact with their teachers. Although the students he taught are not as young as third graders, he had seen that there are violence and undisciplined students. In addition, students are rebelling against their professors due to their disbelief to them.
In the novel, the author depicts the main character as someone who saw that the faculty members of the school do not have control over the students. Consequently, the students are given all the freedom to do what ever they want whenever they need it. Anyone who hindered their action and limited their freedom will be doomed. Although the teachers similar to the character of Richard Dadier wanted the best for his students, the students themselves denies the actions done by their teacher instead they find it irrelevant and improper. Looking at the ages of the characters in the film it is simply accurate that teenagers will rebel and go against various types of restrictions because they have their own beliefs and understanding of things. However, not all teenagers act in such a way that they will bring violence. It is within extreme actions that tremendous violence of students towards teachers and vice versa is done.
Truly, the book is still very relevant up to this day. Violence in school cannot be stopped immediately. It is obviously a process that needed to be passed in order for various schools to properly target the problems of students and teachers. Through the years of having schools, students and teachers, many issued had risen. Many of them had been addressed some of it are still not addressed. As said a while ago, there are new types of punishments such as detention which is seen in lots of high school movies. It is a situation that many students had gone through because they had done inappropriate action towards a member or a school property. Such modern movies are American Pie, Mean Girls, High School Musical and etc. which presented how the lives of students in the current times are situated. Even though these do not depict much of violence and delinquency of the students it therefore creates a comparison of how Evan Hunter saw high school life in a vocational school during the 1955 while on the other hand, such movies which is seen by the current generation.
Hollywood and the media were able to shift the attention of people towards the lighter and fun parts of high school. Unlike the view of Evan Hunter in his novel, most of the filmmakers now a days does not find any close interests with heavy drama and heavy violence in high school films. Due to the assumed thoughts that high school is supposed to be an enjoyable phase of life, most filmmakers lightens up the issues that high school students face such as sex, drugs, bullying, racism, early pregnancy, violence and etc. With such, high school movies had become lighter and more enjoyable to watch. One great example is the movie High School Musical one up to three (1-3) which presents that life in high school is fun and enjoyable—that there is peace and equality among people.
In the end high school life truly depends on the person within the situation. Whether he or she is in a tough or breezy situation, it is still his or her decision to make the most out of it. There are people who are greatly affected by their environment while others creates a new path to prevent any psychological breakdown or disorders similar to what happened in Virginia Tech Massacre (CNN). The murderer, who is also a student of the University have killed thirty-three people within a few hours of his rampage. The killings of students have led to a tragic disaster and the unbearable pain of the school, the professors, students as well as their parents. Through such novels similar to Blackboard Jungle readers are reminded that students are only a fragile peace of person that could be torn by pain that could lead to violence if he or she is not given proper attention.
In the end, the author Evan Hunter has presented a great work of art and reality. Although he had directly stated that all his characters are fictional. He had also clarified that each of the characters are symbolism of those who are actually living in real life. Therefore, his story is true to its nature which then states that the Blackboard Jungle is a real story that all types of people could relate. In school parents normally see that their children will learn regarding their academics and some how adapt values which is appropriate and beneficial to their adulthood. It is also expected that values are learned by students mainly through their teachers and not from anyone else. In the novel, the teacher sees that the students needed to be controlled and disciplined for they are young and the future people who will lead the nation. After realizing that there is a problem within the school he immediately acted and differ his actions in comparison to his colleagues. Dadier became tough on his students and broke the violence which some of the students within the school practice. Similar to this, teachers are also same as Dadier. There are still passionate teachers that see the importance of school and the students—that sometimes it is not about academic learning but values are the most essential matter.
As a whole, the novel was able to capture the situation of school in New York during the 1955 there are less control and less disciplined students which until now is happening within various parts of the United States. Although some may say that there are proper funding and training given to schools and teachers there are still many groups which create violence which causes delinquency among groups or individuals. Through this novel students and teachers are needed to cooperate in achieving their goals (teacher: educate students of values and academic learning, students: acquire values and absorb the academic learning taught by teachers). Although it is difficult to achieve, it is the only way to lessen delinquencies and misunderstandings amongst students and teachers. At last, it should be understood that students and teachers need each other in order to gain success.
Cable News Network. Massacre at Virginia Tech. 2007 CNN News.com 06 Feb 2008 <http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/virginiatech.shootings/>.
Fox News. Officials: 3rd Graders Plotted to Kill Teacher. 01 April 2008 Fox News.com 06 February 2008 <http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,344369,00.html>.
Hunter, Evan. The Blackboard Jungle. Simon and Schuster: United States of America, 1999.