• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analyse Faulks presentation of Stephens mental state in Part One of Birdsong. Explain how this influences your understanding of the rest of the novel.

Extracts from this document...


Analyse Faulks' presentation of Stephen's mental state in Part One of Birdsong. Explain how this influences your understanding of the rest of the novel. Sebastian Faulks presents Stephen Wraysford's mental state in a variety of different ways, these different notions to Stephen's psyche in part one of the novel gives the reader a deeper understanding of his character later in the novel and how his mental state changes. Stephen is an visitor from England that has been sent to France to gather information on the textile industry in France. He speaks fluent French and is very well mannered (as most British men in that era) and this is shown throughout the start of the novel. Stephen shows these polite manners as he first greets the family in a very formal way. "He took her hand and bowed his head briefly". The first character we are introduced to is Stephen and within the first chapter it is plain to see that he has a clear definition of what is right and wrong which gives of the idea that he is strong-minded and if challenged on something he believed to be right then he would fight for what he believed in indomitably. ...read more.


As the affair continues through part one Isabelle and Stephen's physical and intense relationship starts to develop in a more emotional sense, Isabelle seems to become more and more vulnerable, "there was too much danger in her feeling" and stephen becomes gradually more courageous and bold, "he seemed sure of what was right". Madame Azaire then starts to share her emotions with Stephen and she starts to trust in him, for example "She felt she might avoid the fallibility of her own judgement by depending on his" and this is all in the gradual climax where Isabelle tells Azaire she has betrayed him and that she was having the affair, "It was me", after this revelation Rene Azaire turns unbelievingly towards Stephen, stephen now makes the psychological choice to protect his lover, "you must hate me not her" this is a vital change in Stephen's mental state because before he met the Azaire's he was a solitary and introverted young man but this is almost him fully entering manhood by taking the responsibility for the one that he loves, "he hardened his heart". As Stephen and Isabelle start to travel away together, Stephen is in a state of pure elation, "there was the deeper happiness of being with this woman", however Madame Azaire had taken the leaving of her family ...read more.


The end of Part One consists of isabelle leaving stephen because of her pregnancy and therefore Stephen is left distraught and alone. Stephen seems to be in shock of her departure and therefore goes to work as usual and carries on as if nothing has happened, "showed no sign that anything had changed", he does this because he sub-consciously cant accept that the love of his life has left him, he cant face the reality of his desperately sad situation. When he came home he drank to excess to try and drink away the horrors and sadness of his situation, he is mentally devastated and the only thing he can do is let "himself grow cold.". This mortifying and overwhelming event is what caused Stephen to join the army and fight in the war, this furthermore gives us a more in depth understanding of the way stephen acts in the war to possible friends and the way he treats himself. Faulk's presents Stephen's mental state in a variety of different ways, he goes from being in a blissful state of mind to being in a state of turmoil and Faulks presents these psychological states perfectly so that we as readers grow along emotionally with Stephen, feel joy with stephen but most of all empathise with his pain and desolation. Alex Monro-Pruett ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Authors section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Authors essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast the ways in which the theme of Human Suffering is presented ...

    4 star(s)

    the battlefield Faulks enables Birdsong to give the reader an complete view of what happened during the World War One and what the soldiers themselves experienced. However because he did not live through the war himself the novel only gives the reader a fictional account of what happened, although the

  2. A comparison of the ways in which Pat Barker and Sebastian Faulks present different ...

    concept of how Jesus Christ's suffering on the cross was as horrific a death as some of the men experienced. The confusion many of the men in war felt about religion stems from the idea of questioning how God could allow such suffering yet Burns is able to make some sense of his won suffering though considering Christ's death.

  1. In the wars, Robert Rose is a very significant character.

    hundred thirty-three TOAD page one hundred thirty-three TOAD page one hundred thirty-four Rodwell had bonded with the toad. He had taken care of it and wanted the toad to keep living (Rodwell later kills himself). MICE page one hundred thirty-four Rodwell can't understand the soldiers hatered for the mice and rats.

  2. How the character of Stephen is portrayed by Faulks in Birdsong.

    maids in the Azaires house, he is also only a visitor and his brushed aside by them, making the following quote, an oxymoron. '"This way, Monsieur. Dinner is served." Said the maid, squeezing past him in the doorway. When Stephen finally reaches the dining room, he is welcomed by Madam

  1. Compare and Contrast the Relationship between Men in the Novels: 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks ...

    The 'muscle throbb[ing] in his jaw', could illustrate Prior's guilt for his hostile actions. This point can be furthered as Prior relies on Rivers for sympathy when asking whether the punishment for his actions were 'rather severe.' Rivers response of 'no comment', however leads me to reject the assumption that

  2. Analysis of the "Riverboat Trip" in the novel "Birdsong" by Sebastian Faulks as a ...

    The boat can be used to symbolize the war. The generals only have to tell people orders for hundreds of men's lives to be changed. Using the same principle, Madame B�rard comes across as one of the generals that doesn't fight, but takes credit for others actions.

  1. Discuss Stephen's character and how it changes throughout the story.

    We find out here that Stephen is fairly flirtatious, as he kisses her on the cheek just before departing, leaving Madame Azaire puzzled as to what the kiss meant. However, even by now, he has changed his attitude towards different members of the household.

  2. Comparison of an extract from Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks and "Ghost Road"

    of the times as they entered the war and why the desire to join up was so strong. Comparison with other literature * Regeneration Trilogy: specific comparison here with an extract from Ghost Road. * Poetry and literature written by contempory's to the events; Owen, Sassoon, Blunden, Gurney etc.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work