Created By: Lavalyte on October 21, 2010 Last Edited By: Lavalyte on November 26, 2010
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Schools Kill Creativity

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An anti-establishment trope from fiction, the notion that formal schooling crushes the gentle spirits, destroys creativity and enforces conformity above all.

Whether this is actually true is not the point. This trope is about how schooling is depicted in fiction.

Turns up in songs quite a lot for some reason.

examples?

Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • October 21, 2010
    randomsurfer
    An ad for the 1992 Isuzu Rodeo had an art class coloring, chanting "Stay within the lines. The lines are our friends. Stay within the lines..."
  • October 21, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Isn't there a Sliding Scale of Emotion VS Logic?
  • October 21, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    A common theme on Calvin And Hobbes.
  • October 21, 2010
    Lale
    The theme of School Of Rock.
  • October 21, 2010
    depizan
    Also Harry Chapin's Flowers Are Red. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWV3fJB2Mfw

  • October 22, 2010
    BlackWolfe
    To clarify the Pink Floyd example, Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) illustrates this as yet-another-reason for the character Pink to shut himself away from the world. It's only one of many, however.
  • October 22, 2010
    TrustBen
    Mark Twain is known to have said (maybe in Life on the Mississippi) "I have never let schooling interfere with my education."
  • October 22, 2010
    LeeM
    As well as "The Logical Song" Supertramp had "School".
  • October 22, 2010
    Tannhaeuser
    There was this exchange in the first Kim Possible movie (A Sitch in Time):

    Ron Stoppable: 'Scuse me, scary orb thing? Where are you taking us?
    Robot: The attitude adjustment center.
    Kim Possible: Isn't that the high school?
    Robot: Prepare to be drained of all individuality and spirit.
    Ron: Yep, high school.

  • October 22, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Possible page image:

    A lot of the reason for this trope comes from SadistTeachers who want perfectly behaved students or will punish them severely. Plus there's the (ahem) school of thought that indicates school is to teach conformity, as evidenced how bullies and The Libby pick on kids who don't fit the norm.

    • Codename Kids Next Door also subscribes to the theory that school kills creativity and is part of the Adult Conspiracy.
    • A Series Of Unfortunate Events has a school like this somewhere in the series.
    • The opening scene of Serenity has a scene like this. The other children are all falling into line with what the teacher is saying; little River is thinking outside the box and getting in trouble for it.
    • The schools in the Fire Nation in Avatar The Last Airbender are highly structured and don't permit much by way of self expression.

  • October 22, 2010
    Evalana
    • In Puff The Magic Dragon and the Incredible Mr. Nobody, one of the reasons that Terry started blaming his creative output on his imaginary friend was due to his teacher disparaging his picture of a spaghetti landscape and telling him to paint "real trees, and real houses."
  • November 13, 2010
    Lavalyte
    Launching tomorrow
  • November 13, 2010
    Andyroid
    Springfield Elementary from The Simpsons is frequently depicted like this, with "Independent Thought alarms" and such.
  • November 13, 2010
    wanbli
    The school in Moral Orel fits this. Of course, "Statesota" is a ruthless theocracy anyway.
  • November 13, 2010
    Game_Fan
    This seems very close to School Is For Losers.
  • November 13, 2010
    TonyG
    School Is For Losers is about how a character feels about school. This is about how schools are represented in media. One represents the character's opinion, the other represents the writer's opinion.

    • A Simpsons episode parodying The Fountainhead had Maggie in a preschool that discourages her from building highly elaborate buildings with building blocks, on the grounds that it makes the other babies feel inferior.
  • November 13, 2010
    Stindris
    I feel like this is a good trope but the name needs work. Suggestions anyone?
  • November 13, 2010
    Lavalyte
  • November 14, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    There's also a reform school in Phineasand Ferb where the boys are sent to stop grooving and using their imaginations. It Was All Just A Dream at the end, thankfully.
  • November 14, 2010
    Tiiba
    I never let my schooling get in the way of my education. --Samuel Clemens
  • November 16, 2010
    Lavalyte
    Still need a pithy name.
  • November 16, 2010
    halfmillennium
    The description might need clarifying. A strictly regimented school isn't necessarily an example of this; it would only apply if the school is portrayed as deliberately trying to suppress creativity.

    Might I suggest that we refrain from having a Real Life or Troper Tales section, as either would invariably be a list of variations on, 'my school teachers were communists and wouldnt let me were my own clothes like the frist andemement says i can'?
  • November 17, 2010
    billybobfred
    Played For Laughs in the Captain Underpants books. The school literally has a poster that says "individuality is painful".
  • November 17, 2010
    0blivionmobile
    I agree that this trope would make a good addition to the site, but I also agree that some caution should be taken with real life examples, like with Complete Monster and other tropes.
  • November 17, 2010
    AmuroNT1
    The Simpsons really loves this trope. In the episode where Lisa goes vegetarian, Principal Skinner has an Independent Thought Alarm, and blames the colored chalk for its being used twice in the same day. In another, Skinner institutes uniforms after Bart wears a snarky T-shirt, causing the children to become lifeless drones who even blink in unison.
  • November 19, 2010
    Lavalyte
    A title! I need a title!
  • November 19, 2010
    MidasMint
    This is a realistic depiction of schools. A fantastic narrative would be any alternative.
  • November 19, 2010
    countrymatters
    Hmmm, names... How about a slight spin on one of these school slogans?

    Some of them even sound like the goal of schools is to breed conformity (my personal favorite: "Everyone Is An Achiever").
  • November 21, 2010
    Lavalyte
    There's a good title for this, but I'm stumped. Might launch anyway
  • November 21, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
  • November 22, 2010
    halfmillennium
  • November 25, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Bump.
  • November 25, 2010
    deuxhero
    Related to Sucky School.

    • U.S. Government schools were designed to educate people only enough to be factory workers and display this trope as a result.
  • November 26, 2010
    halfmillennium
    Again, I'd suggest that we avoid real life examples. American Government aren't even an example.

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