Notes on a scandal novel

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notes on a scandal novel

What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal] by Zoë Heller

Schoolteacher Barbara Covett has led a solitary life until Sheba Hart, the new art teacher at St. Georges, befriends her. But even as their relationship develops, so too does another: Sheba has begun an illicit affair with an underage male student. When the scandal turns into a media circus, Barbara decides to write an account in her friends defense—and ends up revealing not only Shebas secrets, but also her own.
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Published 03.08.2019


Queen of Sheba

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies. Dispatched from the UK in 4 business days When will my order arrive? Zoe Heller. Ali Smith. Keri Hulme.

These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. Notes on a Scandal is a novel published in and written by British author Zoe Heller. It deals with the social taboo of teacher-student relationships, and engendered a great deal of discussion regarding the differing ways in which male and female teachers are viewed whenever cases like this come to light. Although the novel is a story of illicit love and sinister attachment, it also includes comic observations as the narrator, school teacher Barbara Covett , makes some cutting yet accurate character analyses of her fellow faculty members. The novel is narrated by Barbara, who is writing a manuscript about the affair between her friend, art teacher Sheba Hart , and a fifteen year-old boy whom she teaches, Stephen Connolly. Through Barbara's eyes, their story is told from start to finish; because of these details the book was controversial when it was first published, and created something of a media sensation out of Heller, who was also a popular magazine columnist at the time. Notes on a Scandal study guide contains a biography of Zoe Heller, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller pp, Viking, £ This is one of those disquieting novels that proffers its apparent theme then cunningly.
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Notes on a Scandal Background

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Share on:. Barbara has been teaching at St George's for several years, and in spite of her caustic words on the institution, it is very much the focus of her lonely life. When newcomer, Sheba joins them, she forms a strong bond with her, and becomes part of Sheba's life. Sheba is married with two children, but her attraction to a pupil, Connolly, leads her to risk everything in a liaison of which Barbara is extremely jealous. As a result, their apparent friendship travels a sinister path. Brilliantly evoking the sights, sounds and smells of a run down secondary school, Heller provides a gripping portrayal of the problems faced by teachers both in and out of the classroom.

This is one of those disquieting novels that proffers its apparent theme then cunningly reveals itself to be about something else altogether. As its title and first pages suggest, its surface plot concerns a tabloid-pleasing sizzler of a scandal. Sheba Hart, a year-old pottery teacher, arrives at a dreggy north London comp trailing the kind of tarnished glamour that sets the school's sex-starved males mildly abuzz. The suitor who presses his case first is year-old Steven Connolly, a reasonably gormless lad with mild artistic proclivities, a cabbie father, and a home on an estate. Within months of her arrival, Sheba, a mother of two and the apparently contented wife of a lecturer 20 years her senior, is copulating with the grammatically challenged adolescent on the art-room floor. So far, so dubiously titillating. Except it's not.


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