Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.
"He had never stopped a rape before, except by changing his mind, and he found his role of protector of the virgin a difficult one to assume."
Am I supposed to consider the main character an actual protagonist? Because he doesn't seem materially any different from the students who expect to, and are apparently expected to, assault any vulnerable teacher.
In a later scene, his pregnant wife rants about Miss Hammond provoking the rape (apparently by being young and slender and possessing a pair of breasts) and thereby causing Rick trouble by putting him in the situation of having to intervene, and Rick agrees with her. Then when Miss Hammond sees him in the staff room and thanks him, he spends that time ogling her figure and assessing whether she's flirting with him.
"There were lines of weariness around her eyes and her sensuous mouth, and he suddenly wondered what kind of hell she'd been going through, and this softened his attitude a little. 'I've, I've been wanting to thank you.' She lowered her eyes momentarily, and then lifted them suddenly, in a turning-the-full-power-of-brown-eyes-on gesture. He noticed this and wondered if she were being artful or coy. There seemed to be an aura of innocence about this one, a naivete that gave lie to the woman's body beneath the loosely tailored suit. He realized abruptly that she had no more desired the attempted rape than he had, and he smiled."
I mean, holy shit, what a turd ball.