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Explore the ways Frayn presents the relationship between Stephen and Keith

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Explore the ways Frayn presents the relationship between Stephen and Keith From the beginning the audience learn that there is a sense of hierarchy in Keith and Stephens' relationship, that Stephen is ever more aware of "even then, of my incomprehensible good fortune in being Keith's friend" even as a child. Such a friendship is conveyed through the hierarchy and is significant in the development of Stephens' character, and this is inherent from Chapter two beginning with the comparison Stephen makes of himself in relation to Keith. However it is important to remember that this high regard which Stephen does hold is implied through Frayn's presentation proves that his perception is unreliable. The twin narrative in spies represents the same person at two different stages in his life. This idea introduces uncertainty because the narrator constantly questions himself and therefore as the audience it is open to interpretation as to whether all the details we are presented are entirely accurate with Stephen and Keith's changing relationship. The relationship of these children can be paralleled to the journey the narrator embarks on because it is his childhood described at "frightening, half-understood promises of life" that he needs to revisit and he same way there is a journey of this secret, similarly Frayn displays a journey in the relationship with Stephen as Keith. ...read more.


Furthermore characters like Barbara Berrill don't see what Stephen sees in Keith because they know "he's so stuck up. Everyone except [Stephen] hates him". For example the idea of Stephen acting as a disciple towards Keith is only in their little games, which is why Frayn presents the games as humorous to show the symbolism they mean to Stephen in reality are non-existent. It also emphasises the innocence of their relationship by the way in which the boys embark on the game on spying Mrs Hayward: "I can see all kinds of interesting new possibilities opening up". Chapter three opens more up about the relationship between Stephen and Keith. The audience know how gullible Stephen is in everything Keith says: "The corner of Keith's mouth registers an almost imperceptible moment of superiority. I remember how often I've been humiliated by him like this is the past." This reveals more about their relationship and how it is slowly changing. Stephens carries on by saying that "things start as a game, and then they turn into a test, which I fail". Before Stephen would have been in denial and not admit that he has been humiliated or failed. Now Stephen begins to recall how extremely unpleasant Keith is to Stephen. ...read more.


I'm sick of being bossed around all the time". This suggests that it won't be look before Stephen acts upon his emotions. This idea of coming of age and with that change in relationship is accentuated towards the end of chapter three when Frayn introduces Barbara Berrill through Stephen's eyes. He notices her curls and that he can see her knickers and implies that she will have an affect later on in the novel. Moreover, the changing relationship is demonstrated through Keith's actions to signify other things that will change about Keith. Whilst this is the first time Stephen is without Keith in the "privet" suggesting he is becoming less dependant on "the officer corps". Frayn also presents Stephen as not only weak, but in a state of denial about Keith's mistakes, as he feels this is a reflection on him too. This shows their inextricable attachment to each other, but on different levels toward each other. Any betrayal on Stephens's part is seen as the betrayal of Jesus from Judas. Stephen didn't want to lie about the spelling mistake as he wanted to "spare Keith's shame, but no words emerge through the biscuit." This is a conformation of Stephens's denial of Keith's spelling as he doesn't want to undermine his authority. It will spoil the glory of Keith which rub off on Stephen. It would diminish his own image. ...read more.

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