53 pages 1 hour read

Alan Bennett

The Uncommon Reader

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 2007

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Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. The United Kingdom’s form of government is a parliamentary system combined with a constitutional monarchy. Consider the role of the monarchy in the UK. What is the purpose of a monarch? How does this role differ from a prime minister and/or a president? In general, how is the monarchy perceived in the UK?

Teaching Suggestion: This question orients students with the political structure of the satire. The UK has both a constitutional monarchy as well as a parliamentary democracy as their form of government. Historically, the UK functioned under a monarchial mindset, in which the king/queen was bound to the laws of God, not man; as a result, monarchs often used God, as well as established religion, to justify their leadership and maintain power. In the UK, monarchal power gradually decreased after the Magna Carta in 1215, and the 17th-century English Civil War was a notable turning point because of the abolition of the monarchy and the increase of Parliament’s duties. (The monarchy was eventually restored under King Charles II in 1660, and the balance of power between the throne and Parliament was reestablished.

Related Titles

By Alan Bennett