Breaking Bad Analysis

niuh BreakingBad

Breaking Bad is an amazing television show that kept millions of viewers on the edge of their seats for all five seasons. Walter White and Jesse Pinkman saturated the show with deception, manipulation, violence, and crime the biggest crime, says Samuel Chambers, is that Walter White was a bad teacher. In “Walter White is a Bad Teacher: Pedagogy, Partage, and Politics in Season 4 of Breaking Bad” Samuel Chambers brings to life the underlying pedagogy in the Breaking Bad television series with help from the french philosopher Jacques Ranciere . The relationship between Walter and Jesse was one of dominance against Jesse. As mentioned in the article, Ranciere is able to challenge the Walter’s teachings as well as the process he takes to teaching and relate them to a system of inequality of intelligence and knowledge between the teacher Walter and his student, Jesse. Throughout this series Walter relies on the belief that he is inherently more intelligent than Jesse. As Jacques Raciere’s puts it, “pedagogical theory can be called radical, in the sense of cutting at the root, because it challenges traditional pedagogy at its very heart: namely, explanation.”
This process is what Ranciere refers to as thee “explicative order” in the “Walter White is a Bad Teacher: Pedagogy, Partage, and Politics in Season 4 of Breaking Bad” article where Walter takes on the role of schoolmaster and the student is unequal when in comparison. This superior thinking is what ultimately leads Walter into failing as a teacher. Chamber then poses the question, “Who is a better teacher to Jesse: Gus or Mr. White”? The cruel, terrorizing, cold-blooded killer, drug kingpin Gus Fring or the egocentric, shameless, greedy meth-cooking fugitive, Walter White? Chamber explains that, “only a bad teacher tries to establish mastery by way of assertion of superior intelligence.” Chamber states that a good teacher is the one who chooses to inspire and emancipate their students, emitting a sense of equality while a poor teacher on the other hand will constrain a student by belittling and refusing to recognize a student’s accomplishments and progress, the tough love approach.
Chamber believes that Gus proved to be the better teacher to Jesse by introducing positive reinforcement and emancipation, he explains that “We can therefore see two requirements for an emancipatory teaching: first, the teacher her[him]self must already be emancipated, must recognize the radical equality of intelligence’s; and second, the teacher must refuse to stultify the student through explication and instead grant to the student the assumption of the equality of intelligence.” In reality could we really expect much more from Walter? He himself considers himself to be failure due to the decisions that were made straight out of college, so is it really a surprise that he turned out to be a failure as a teacher as well?
I do not believe that it is fair to analyze Water to that extent, before Walter was able to take Jesse under his wing Jesse was traveling down a path that was likely to end badly. I don’t think Walter when compared to Gus, was the worse of the two evils. I do believe that the main reason why Mr. White is a school teacher turned meth cook is because he considered himself a failure. However, I do not believe that her was a complete failure as a teacher. Walter was able to educate Jesse and actually teach him how to create the popular blue product that was in high demand. Considering how poorly Walter thought about himself I believe that he was able to educate Jesse to the best of his ability, this is why I don’t consider him a complete failure.

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2 thoughts on “Breaking Bad Analysis

  1. I did not read this particular article nor have I seen an episode of this show but I did read a few of the blog posts summarizing this same article including yours. Out of the bunch you have an interesting take on Walter as a teacher. I am referring to your statement that, “considering how poorly Walter thought about himself I believe that he was able to educate Jesse to the best of his ability.” So Walter was attempting to do a “righteous act” by getting this kid off the his bad path on the street, even though it was to conduct highly illegal acts for profit. I agree he was the best teacher he could have been considering his psychological state but in my opinion he doesn’t seem to be the best role model. As the saying goes “do as I say, not as I do”.


  2. You pose an intriguing challenge to the scholar’s assumption about teaching styles. Yes, Gus might have a more practiced pedagogy. But his instruction is coming from a cold, almost mechanical mindset. A passionless pedagogy. Walter sucks but, hey, he’s at least still a human being. More or less. In Season 4. Nice work.


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