One of my favourite books of all time, Tom Browns Schooldays by Thomas Hughes. I would reccommend anyone who has only seen the film to read the book, and also to visit Rugby school, the setting for the book.
I was very upset at what the Milkboy paedophiles were posting about the film adoptation, perving on the young actor who played the part of Tom Brown. But it prompted me to re-read the book, and I want to post about my favourite part in the book, the point at which Tom Brown saw himself from God's point of view. Tom had been getting into "scrapes" with his friend, and had been punished by the headmaster several times, and awful as the floggings were he had come to the point where he didnt care too much about being punished, and was constantly challenging the authority of the headmaster. The headmaster was a reformer, Rugby school had become quite a wicked place, there was prostitution and raping going on, the book hints at that but the sordid details of the reality of public schools like Rugby can be read in other books, for example "Surprised by Joy" by C.S.Lewis. Dr Arnold was determined to stamp out these evil things. In the book, he didnt want to keep flogging Tom Brown all the time, but he couldn't let him get away with breaking the school rules, and the law, getting into trouble with the law ect. So he decided to split Tom and his friend East up and put him in with a really weedy boy called Arthur.
Tom was disgusted of course, but the turning point in the book was when Arthur did something that Tom didnt dare to do - he knelt by his bed at bedtime in front of all the other boys and prayed to God. The other boys started jeering at him, and one of them threw something at Arthur. Tom was amazed by Arthurs courage, and that was the turning point for him in the book - he realised that he was not such a big man after all, because this weedy chap had put him to shame, courage wise. Because the reason he had stopped praying was nothing to do with him losing faith in God - he was simply frightened of what everyone else would say.
That is my favourite part of one of my favourite books of all time. If you have not already read it, please do so, you wont regret it. And do visit Rugby school, if you can, it is a very interesting and enlightening day out.