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

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Introduction

How the character of Stephen is portrayed by Faulks in Birdsong. At the beginning of Birdsong, the Azaires are first introduced on the first page, followed by Stephen, who happens to be another important, if not the main character in the whole of the story. As a reader, we would assume that the Azaire family and Stephen and some connection, either already, or as we read later into the novel. Within the opening pages of the novel, it becomes apparent that Stephen as a clear view of what is right and what is wrong. Faulks, by including this so early on the novel, makes us wonder whether Stephen may be faced with a decision of right and wrong, and if so, would he recognise it as either. In the first chapter, we learn that Stephen is a young English man, the age of Twenty and has come to France to learn more about manufacturing process at Monsieur Azaires factory. As a reader, this portrays Stephen as an intelligent young man, who is willing to learn more, no matter how far he has to travel. We also learn that Stephen a hugely wealthy man, but neither is he much poorer than other people in the village; 'Stephen Wray fords metal trunk had been sent ahead and was waiting t at the foot of the bed.' If Stephen was of a higher class, he would have had his trunk emptied and clothes hung for him, yet he hasn't, so we assume that he is of a middle class standard. ...read more.

Middle

As he opens his notebook, we find out that the book is already 'half full with inky writing.' By this, Faulks makes the reader think that a lot has happened in Stephens's life already that may be important in the rest of the novel. We also learn that Stephen isn't a tidy, structured man as in his notebook, he can go days, even weeks between logged something in it, as the dates in it are very scattered. We learn that Stephen is very intelligent whilst learning about what his notebook is about, when we are told that Stephen writes in code in his notebook, derived from his knowledge of Greek and Latin in his Grammar School. 'He laughed softly to himself as he wrote.' makes the reader assume that he enjoys a sense of secrecy in his life, and in his notebook, allowing us to think whether he will use his 'spy' like qualities and secrecy later on the novel in a more, hands on and practical situation. We also learn he has an openness and problems with anger, which thanks to his notebook, has kept this hidden from anyone he may know. We may see both these qualities that Stephen processes later on the novel, which leads the reader to want to read more of it, a technique perfected by Faulks in order to enthral and attract the reader's attention to read on. He also has a slight problem, as Faulks refers to it as, 'not to trust his responses and wait and watchful.' ...read more.

Conclusion

After a, what a reader may call, an awkward moment between Stephen and Isabelle, when he tries to talk about the sounds he heard from her room, it appears that Isabelle has some feelings towards Stephen in return in the following quote; 'Madam Azaire watched his tall figure retreat across the grass to the house. She turned back to her roses, shaking her head as though in defiance of some unwanted feeling.' From this moment, the pair embark on a sexual affair, taking place in the 'red room', a room in the Azaires household that appears to not be used often. By doing this, Stephen goes against everything he tries to deny himself of. He loses control of his feelings, his reactions he is unable to control and in doing so, he falls in love with Isabelle, who the reader is constantly reminded of during meaningful and loving scenes between the two, is married to the owner of the house, Monsieur Azaire. There are many sides to the character of Stephen, many of them the reader probably doesn't feel they know yet. The novel, so far enlightens the reader to know about some of his past, some of his present and drops subtle, war related clues to possibly indicate something about his future. The mention of birds is a constant reminder of something important and we also find out that Stephen is afraid of birds and is therefore a subtle reminder that everything he does when the birds are mentioned, is an act of terrible consequences, in the Azaires household, so far. ...read more.

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