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Discuss the importance and presentation of Mr Hayward in Michael Frayn's Spies

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Introduction

Discuss the importance and presentation of Mr Hayward in Spies Mr Hayward is presented to the reader via his various roles in the novel Spies, as a father to Keith, husband to Mrs Hayward, his place in 'wartime' Britain and as the ultimate 'leader' of the Hayward household. On one occasion he is even described by Stephen as 'God the father'. As with all the characters within the novel, Mr Hayward's initial fa´┐Żade and appearance of perfection is gradually broken down throughout the bilungsroman to eventually expose him as the violent controlling bully that he really is. Whilst the image of Mr Hayward as an ideal father is explicitly asserted by Stephen in the earlier part of his recollections, his implicit understanding of the nature of his best friend's father is evident from the outset, he 'never spoke to him..or even looked directly at him, perhaps because he was too frightened.' But despite this, Frayn draws out the exposure of Mr Hayward to parallel with Stephen's evolving conception of the character which demonstrates to the reader the importance Mr Hayward plays in Stephen's maturation and understanding of life. ...read more.

Middle

Interestingly he described it as a 'wonderful private kingdom' almost in the same way that he refers to the privet as a 'secret kingdom' each of course providing security and a feeling of control for its occupants. It is noteworthy that 'fear' becomes an addition to the smell which Stephen associated with the garage earlier on, perhaps because he has now entered the 'kingdom' and it is his own terror of which he is aware. Within the garage there seems to be a struggle in the balance of power, Mr Hayward speaks in his usual clipped manner with the 'imperative overtones' Stephen earlier identified, using one of his favoured terms to address the boy as 'old fellow' and his truncated syntax ensures that his words become commands: 'Word of advice' 'Silly games. Don't play them'. He continues with idioms from the 1940s of 'awful asses' and 'let's pretend' and we now understand perhaps why we have previously heard very little from this character, Mr Hayward clearly has a very poor relationship with verbal communication which would certainly explain his need to rule his household with fear and violence. ...read more.

Conclusion

This symbol provides a link and reminder of Mr Hayward's role in the war as Keith earlier claimed his father had 'killed five Germans' with that bayonet, a brutality which of course is never confirmed but easily believed. We might construe that his absence from the war is a failing in itself and the cause of such control and violence within his own house, a substitute perhaps for the war of which he yearns to be part. The Mr Hayward we regard at the end of this novel is quite different from the 'lifeless' 'grey' 'fourth figure' Stephen describes from the photographs in the Hayward's house, his air of congeniality of course concealing the brutality which all have come to fear. His presence in the novel is crucial to exploit the concept of falsity of appearances and to provide a contrast with the other men Uncle Peter and Mr Wheatley whose qualities are accentuated to the full with the exposure of Mr Hayward's flaws. And more importantly his exposure is achieved in Stephen's growing maturity and understanding of the sometimes 'imperfect' nature of the world. ...read more.

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