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english literature unit 1 assignment 2

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Spies Assignment 2: The women in Spies are mainly presented through the eyes of the younger Stephan, whose growing maturity means that his views often change throughout the novel. It is important to note that his views may be mixed due to the nature of the main women in the text; Mrs Hayward and Barbara Berrill; they do not portray the typical attitudes of women in the 1940 era. Stephen's particular attention to Mrs Hayward when comparing their families greatness to his own is important, because it shows early on that he notices things about women that he finds particularly remarkable; this is apparent when the older Stephan ponders whether his younger self 'would have perceived the grace and sincerity of Keith's mother quite so clearly if his own hadn't spent most of the day in a faded apron, sighing and anxious?' It is clear that Stephen admires Mrs Hayward for her social appearance amongst the women of the era. ...read more.


Frayn tries to make this clear by the in depth, positive descriptions of her, even when Stephen protested he didn't like her. 'There's something girlishly self satisfying about the bobliness of the leather and the shininess of the purse that offends me almost as much as her intrusion'. Frayn's theme of domination in the text is well expressed through his presentation of the women in the text. We have Barbara's superiority over Stephan. An example of her intellectual superiority is when she was mocking Stephen, 'you mean you don't know what privet is?' she exerts her physical superiority over Stephen when she effortlessly pushes him over and pins him down to get a look into the basket. Similarly Mrs Hayward, as Barbara did, recognises the mistake made by Keith about the spelling of the sign 'very thoughtful of you chaps to put that label on it', meaning that she believes that the boys merely labelled the hedge. ...read more.


But beneath the surface is a maze of physical abuse and male dominance. As the first signs of domestic abuse within the Hayward house become apparent, the reader is convinced that Mr Hayward is a dominant and unpleasant individual. Stephen notices that on occasions Mrs Hayward is 'made up' more heavily than usual and wears high cravats that cover her neck, probably to cover any visible signs of abuse. In conclusion Frayn portrays the women in the text as superior mentally and intellectually to the males. However it is also important to see them as submissive, it plays a large role within the text. In my opinion this technique used by frayn of having the aspects of the women tells the story, brings the concepts of modern and olden day living together. This creates realism for the reader to develop and create a mental picture of what may have gone on with the women during this time within the story. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jack Lanham Student No: A8-3554-AEL English Literature unit 1 ...read more.

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