Created By: jatay3 on May 4, 2011 Last Edited By: jatay3 on May 8, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Squeal

Don't Tell Teacher

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The greatest and most awful evil in the schoolboy code in a classic school story. An informant has sinned against the Nakama and will forever receive a Mark of Shame. This can be handled in various ways. Sometimes the Aesop of the story is that there are times to inform as when the other student is cheating or "doing something harmful to himself".

In the Crime and Punishment genre, this is the most important part of Honor Among Thieves.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • May 4, 2011
    The Brady Bunch: Cindy learned An Aesop about not being a tattletale. Then they have to Unteach it to her in order for her to tell that the dog had stolen a registered letter that came for Alice.
  • May 5, 2011
    Related to the character types The Stool Pigeon (particularly the Obnoxious Oscar) and The Informant, both of whom are looked down upon (at the least) by others.

    A common story element is where the protagonists (who are children at the school) find out about misdeeds by other students and must take care of the problem themselves, because the code prohibits them from telling the teachers/administrators.
  • May 5, 2011
    Subverted in Recess. Gus sees that Randal was the one that started a food fight which got everyone in detention until someone says who did it. Gus tries to follow the "Kid's Code" and not tell. In the end he appears to give it up and everyone turns on him, however Ms. Finister reveals they'd caught the culprit via forensic science ...and that Gus was the only one who didn't turn Randal in, since Guru Kid had told everyone when Gus asked him for advice.
  • May 5, 2011
    The Stool Pigeon even mentions The Squealer.
  • May 5, 2011
    Needs A Better Title. "Thou Shalt Not Squeal" tends to have a Bible feel to it, as if this is a religious trope.

    Also, the title has no reference to school. It could refer to a criminal gang, The Mafia, or just a ghetto neighborhood where the code is "Stop Snitching".
  • May 5, 2011
    This can also happen with parents, not just teachers. How about Dont Be A Tattle Tale?
  • May 7, 2011
    ^^ It sure is treated biblically by a lot of kids though.

    I'd suggest the following for a page quotation:
    "The code of the schoolyard, Marge! The rules that teach a boy to be a man. Let's see. Don't tattle. Always make fun of those different from you. Never say anything, unless you're sure everyone feels exactly the same way you do. What else..."
    - Homer, from The Simpsons
  • May 7, 2011
    • The Trope Codifier for literature is probably Tom Brown's School Days, in which our protagonist is shunned by his classmates for a considerable amount of time because they (incorrectly) believe he's broken the code and squealed on Harry Flashman.
  • May 7, 2011
    I like the title, since kids do treat it as a kinda unofficial commandment.
  • May 8, 2011
    Agreed, I say keep the title.
  • May 8, 2011
    No Tattle Tales

    "Don't tattletale" is the more common phrase I've seen.
  • May 8, 2011
    Could also be called "Omerta", which is one of the better known Real Life forms.