Reflections of Social, Political and Educational Bigotry in “The Chaotic Class (Hababam Sinifi)”: a Comparative Cultural review of the Novel and Its Film Adaptation 

Hakan Bilgin 

English Language Teaching Department, Faculty of Education, Tishk International University, Erbil 

Email: [email protected]

Published: May 15, 2023


Modern Turkish Republic emphasizes the values about the young and the new. In the making of the new society, the government employed modern linguistic and cultural exercises such as linguistic simplification, nationalization and modernization. However, military intervention in politics and social life has been one of the major elements in hitching political, social and even literary culture. The novel The Chaotic Class (Hababam Sinifi) by Rifat Ilgaz is composed under such a shade of military and traditional censorship, which impacted the main ideas and even the structure of the novel. Ilgaz hoped to transcend the censorship by the aid of other means such as theatre and cinema. That’s why, his work is composed in a much more adaptive style to the visual industry. The novel howls with the cries of traditional and military oppression of conservative and militaristic hegemony over a must-renovate social and political system. Ilgaz conveys his discussion over a barely successful yet extremely talented set of students, young stereotypical characters, under the misconduct of regressive education system implemented harshly by the military dictatorship. In the making of its film, one of the greatest achievements was to transcend military oppression through adaptation of the novel. The director Ertem Egilmez produced the box office success film series, dwelling on a more social criticism over the classroom. In the process of adaptation, even though Ilgaz criticized Egilmez a lot, through the film series, Egilmez was successful in conveying the idea of cultural advancement and linguistic purification which had been a controversy until the new millennium. However, Egilmez employed a more socially and culturally critical reading and adaptation of Ilgaz. Thus, the Turkish film industry, Yesilcam, successfully executed its duty of transforming the society thanks to literary background of Turkish culture. This study elaborates on the connections between the film and the literary work in terms of language, social life and education. 

Keywords: Adaptation, Hababam Sinifi, Modern Turkish Culture, The Chaotic class, Yesilcam

DOI: 10.23918/vesal2023v20

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