The school experience has been a prominent motif in German writing for many years, and naturally, the image of the institution differs according to the social and political values held by the respective authors. Goethe, in his fiction, depicts the school experience as beneficial and the teachers as helpful and understanding. Heine, on the other hand, is highly critical of the German educational system. Over the years, especially in that writing which is critical of the socio-political climate in Germany, the picture painted of the school has changed with the changing concerns of German authors, but it has generally been very dark. During much of the nineteenth century the literary image of the school reflected the poor education opportunities available. Toward the end of the century writers began more and more to view public education in the context of German social and political change. In the twentieth century the impact of political developments on the school became a prominent theme, and thus Boll continues what may be called a tradition when he depicts the impact of Nazism on the school and describes education during the Adenauer years.
Helmke, Henry C.
"The Image of the School in Heinrich Boll’s Early Works,"
University of Dayton Review: Vol. 15:
3, Article 7.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/udr/vol15/iss3/7