Taster on Jacques Prévert’s ‘Le Cancre’

Based on these activities, how has this session made you rethink what studying languages at university level involves? (Jacques Prévert’s ‘Le Cancre’)

Written at the end of World War II, Jacques Prévert’s ‘Le Cancre’ includes themes of rebellion against oppression in order to achieve personal freedom. Prevért’s story of the class ‘Dunce’ refuting the humiliation of school and choosing ‘happiness’ can inspire any reader to challenge the oppressive influences in their life. Studying works such as these are integral to understanding man’s thirst for freedom, felt both in 1945, when the poem was published, as much as it is today. Ironically, there are over 400 schools named after Prévert in France, many of which claim to particularly value the independence and autonomy of students. The crucial themes of education, authority and autonomy covered in this single poem are just a sample of the wide range studied in Modern Languages and therefore made me rethink the breadth of content offered in the course.

Amélie, Year 12

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