The History Boys

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Scripps Character Analysis

Scripps is Dakin’s closest friend, a pianist, and an aspiring writer. He is a devout and practicing Christian, and he says that his parents don’t understand this choice. Scripps delivers a large chunk of the play’s narrative asides to the audience. They show him to be thoughtful and engaged. He eventually becomes a journalist, though he hopes to one day be a “real” writer.

Scripps Quotes in The History Boys

The The History Boys quotes below are all either spoken by Scripps or refer to Scripps. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Purpose of Education Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Farrar, Strauss and Giroux edition of The History Boys published in 2006.
Act 1 Quotes

Dakin’s navel, I remember, was small and hard like an unripe blackberry. Posner’s navel was softer and more like that of the eponymous orange. Posner envied Dakin his navel and all the rest of him. That this envy might amount to love does not yet occur to Posner, as to date it has only caused him misery and dissatisfaction.

Related Characters: Scripps (speaker), Posner, Dakin
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Posner one of the narrators of the play, is gay, which makes his life intensely difficult at school. Posner, his classmates assume, is just immature--he doesn't talk about having sex with women because he's so inexperienced. In actuality, Posner doesn't participate in sexual conversations with his friends because he's attracted to his friends  (mostly Dakin), not to women. And even Posner, we're told by his best friend, Scripps, isn't totally aware of his own sexuality at this point in the play: homosexuality is so foreign to his tiny town of Sheffield that he has no way of understanding his own feelings for Dakin, and instead sees them as jealousy rather than attraction.

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DAKIN: The more you read, though, the more you see that literature is actually about losers.
SCRIPPS: No.
DAKIN: It’s consolation. All literature is consolation.

Related Characters: Dakin (speaker), Scripps (speaker)
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, two students, Dakin and Scripps, give their interpretations of the arts, suggesting the diverging paths their intellectual development has taken. Dakin sees literature as a kind of medicine, designed to make people feel better when they're sad or lonely. Scrips seems to think of the arts as more universal and nuanced.

Dakin and Scripps's diverging interpretations of the arts says a lot about their personalities. Dakin is popular and charismatic--by suggesting that literature is about losers, he suggests that he himself doesn't need literature as much as the other "history boys"; he's so popular and well-liked that Eliot and Yeats don't apply to him. Scripps, a more lonely, introspective boy, thinks of art as something that helps everyone--whether you're charismatic or not, art can make your life better.

Act 2 Quotes

What has truth got to do with it? I thought that we’d already decided that for the purposes of this examination truth is, if not an irrelevant, then so relative as just to amount to another point of view.

Related Characters: Scripps (speaker), Irwin
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Irwin talks about the Holocaust with his students, and finds himself questioning his own relativist view of history and truth. Irwin is a little surprised to find his students arguing--cleverly and counterintuitively, just as he's taught them--that the Holocaust must be analyzed within the framework of German foreign policy; in other words, that the evil of the Holocaust was not by any means absolute.

When Irwin tries to correct his students' view of the Holocaust, his pupil Scripps interrupts him and spitefully throws Irwin's words back in his face. Irwin's sexy, counterintuitive view of history and truth, we begin to see, has its limits--there appear to be some historical events, and some truths, that are beyond relativism and counterintuitive thinking. The Holocaust really was as horrific and evil as it's generally regarded to be--no amount of augmentative pyrotechnics can change that fact. Irwin's ideas about essay-writing and history have their limits, and can even be callous and cruel when they hit home to someone's personal experience.

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Scripps Character Timeline in The History Boys

The timeline below shows where the character Scripps appears in The History Boys. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
Hope and Failure Theme Icon
...their last year of school before applying to universities—enter as well. They are Posner, Dakin, Scripps, Rudge, Lockwood, Akthar, Timms, and Crowther. They remove Hector’s motorcycling gear and show it to... (full context)
History and Truth Theme Icon
...he likes (and that’s not Rudge himself). Dakin says, “happily,” that he’s “black and blue.” Scripps speaks an aside to the audience, saying that he’s the only one of the boys... (full context)
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The scene changes as Scripps begins to narrate. He says that one day, he thought he saw a new schoolboy... (full context)
The Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
...Claudine. Crowther, Akthar, and Lockwood play supporting roles at the brothel (Rudge doesn’t speak, and Scripps accompanies the scene on the piano). At one point, Posner takes off Dakin’s pants, saying... (full context)
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...a run. Akthar has computer club. Posner offers to come, but Hector says never mind. Scripps says, “resignedly,” that he’ll come. Hector accepts this, and leaves. As he follows, Scripps says,... (full context)
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Sex and Sexuality Theme Icon
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...have to “show you they’re still in the game” by talking about things like foreskins. Scripps tells him to lighten up, as Irwin is “only five minutes older than we are.”... (full context)
History and Truth Theme Icon
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...fact, he says he knows more about “them and their bodies” than they would expect. Scripps then adds his own narration. He says that “Dakin’s navel…was small and hard like an... (full context)
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Dakin says that he sometimes wishes Hector would “just go for it.” Scripps says that Hector does go for it, but Dakin says that he means off the... (full context)
The Purpose of Education Theme Icon
History and Truth Theme Icon
...secondary institutions will welcome this interpretation, but that it will put Oxford fellows to sleep. Scripps insists that it’s “true,” and Irwin asks what truth has to do with anything. (full context)
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Then Irwin tells Scripps that “truth is no more at issue in an examination than thirst at a wine-tasting... (full context)
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Still in the classroom, Scripps and Dakin discuss Fiona. Dakin uses a metaphor of World War I to explain his... (full context)
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...more, though Irwin still doesn’t like him. Posner begins to sing a song, “Bewitched,” while Scripps plays the piano. The other boys come back into the classroom from their break. The... (full context)
The Purpose of Education Theme Icon
...asks the boys to name knocks at the door in literature, and Akthar, Posner, and Scripps name instances from Coleridge’s poetry, a Mozart opera, and the Bible. Timms looks outside, and... (full context)
The Purpose of Education Theme Icon
...have to put fifty pence into a tin. Timms and Lockwood begin a scene while Scripps plays the piano (they say that they have to smoke while they do it). Hector... (full context)
The Purpose of Education Theme Icon
History and Truth Theme Icon
Scripps steps out to deliver narration to the audience. He says that Irwin eventually became well... (full context)
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...your sleeves?” The bell goes off. Lockwood says they’ve got lots more, and Posner and Scripps act out a scene from the 1945 film Brief Encounter. Irwin recognizes it, and says... (full context)
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...Hector thinks that literature is “everything,” but Posner says, “it isn’t, though, is it, sir?” Scripps cuts in with a narrative aside to the audience. He says that what Posner didn’t... (full context)
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The scene changes. Dakin asks Scripps what he does to practice his religion, and Scripps says that he prays and goes... (full context)
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Dakin says that this is a good line of argument for Cambridge interviews. Scripps says he won’t use it—it’s private. Dakin says, “fuck private.” Scripps asks Dakin to test... (full context)
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Scripps begins to narrate. He says that halfway through the school term, the Headmaster calls Hector... (full context)
Act 2
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...that he’s joking, but when they realize he’s serious, they don’t know what to do. Scripps is closest to Hector, and he motions to Dakin that Hector is crying. Neither boy... (full context)
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...was crying about. Timms, trying to bring things back to normal, says that Dakin and Scripps have a scene from a film for him. Hector says that’s good, as there are... (full context)
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Akthar says that it is “a subject like any other,” and Scripps protests that it’s “not like any other at all.” Hector says that concentration camps are... (full context)
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Irwin starts to say that for one thing, the argument isn’t true. But Scripps cuts in to remind him that they’ve already discarded truth as a major factor in... (full context)
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Scripps objects to the word “proportion” and Dakin calls it “context.” Posner says that putting something... (full context)
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...quote.” He says that it’s time for him to go, and Irwin asks where, but Scripps and Dakin enter, so Hector says that he just means he has to go home.... (full context)
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Dakin tells Irwin that he and Scripps were just discussing whether Irwin is disingenuous—insincere—or meretricious—falsely attractive. Dakin says that Irwin is not... (full context)
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Class and Gender Theme Icon
Scripps teases Dakin for flirting with Irwin. Dakin says that he wants to impress Irwin in... (full context)
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...expectations—“it’s like a game”—but it turns out that Irwin has given him a low grade. Scripps tells Dakin that his handwriting is starting to look like Irwin’s, and that Posner’s is... (full context)
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Scripps begins to ask Dakin about having sex with Fiona, and Posner asks whether Dakin is... (full context)
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In a narration to the audience, Scripps, Dakin, and Posner describe their visits to Oxford and Cambridge. Scripps says that he took... (full context)
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Dakin tells Scripps that he made Irwin this offer as a way of saying thank you. Scripps jokes... (full context)
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...and sees Dakin in the motorcycle helmet. He immediately protests, and then Irwin walks in. Scripps says, “and here history rattled over the points…” and the Headmaster tells Hector to take... (full context)
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...to patronise,” something he’s endured too much of. Mrs. Lintott says that she has, too. Scripps, she says, became a journalist, but is always saying he will someday “really write.” (full context)
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...for the dark.” Irwin says that Hector’s teaching was not suited to this time period. Scripps disagrees: “love apart, it is the only education worth having.” Hector says, “Pass the parcel,... (full context)