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

Spies by Michael Frayn. How does Frayn show Stephen's mental progression from childhood to adolescence? You should refer to language, form and structure in your answer.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Frayn show Stephen's mental progression from childhood to adolescence? You should refer to language, form and structure in your answer. Frayn uses language, structural change and symbolism throughout the events of the novel to exhibit Stephen's mental descent to adolescence. A theme that reveals itself in the first chapter is perception, and Stephen's perception of reality increases during the bildungsroman. The book begins with the elder Stephen, who is very open about his sensory stimulation in perceiving surroundings. For example: "sheltering the modest houses from the summer sun and making our famously good air fresh" exhibits Stephen being open and attentive of his surroundings, whereas younger Stephen is focused entirely on the notion that Mrs. Hayward is a spy. The extent is made clear by how Stephen links mathematical code into the mystery - "Excellent. So what is the value of x" ... "Into x, the unknown in the equation we have to solve." there is a clear distinction between the sensory states of the elder and younger forms of Stephen, with the former being more integrated to his surroundings, whereas the latter's perception twists simple mathematics into part of a greater puzzle. ...read more.

Middle

Hayward as he sexually awakens. Firstly, cracks in his friendship with Keith appear: "I'm sick of being bossed around all the time" this reflects the rebellious stage teenagers enter under the influence of adolescence, in which their entire view on the world changes. Furthermore, "bossed" implies that Keith is in command of Stephen, much like a parent's command over their children, and through adolescence Stephen is managing to break through his childish instantaneous obedience. In place of this relationship comes friendship with Barbara, and this change in form admits the extent of which adolescence is working on Stephen's mind, as he has become friends with a girl. Stephen says "'Squidgy' is a girl's word that I shouldn't condescend to respond to." Use of the verb "condescend" refers to Stephen's current mental stigma to view girls as underneath them, inferior, but adolescence kicking in changes this: "Now she's trying to supplant Keith as the one who makes the plans" exhibits that Stephen acknowledges the change, and yet later both smoke from the same cigarette, a sign of their bond, and thus how Stephen can bond with girls due to the sexual revolution occurring in his mind since disassociating with Keith. ...read more.

Conclusion

the effect is amplified by the exclamation mark expressing Stephen's passion, thus how Stephen has progressed from a simplistic, obedient child, to a man. Furthermore, in the final chapter, Stephen answers his own questions, something he was unable to do, due to mental immaturity, earlier in his journey: "Can I imagine him dead? Not really." ... "Did I really not know at the time that the broken man in the Barns was Uncle Peter? Of course I knew." The significance being that structurally, Stephen is quickly able to come to conclusions to his questions, whereas previously Keith's approval was required, and this prevents the structure from continuing the novel - tying up the loose ends. Ultimately, the extent of Stephen's progression from childhood is made evident by Chapter 11, due to sheer contrast, in both language and structure, especially contextually. In conclusion, Frayn uses language techniques such as lexical fields, different languages and symbolism to communicate the progression in Stephen's mental state from childhood to adulthood, and this is further emphasised by the clear change of how Stephen narrates the story, as he masters adolescence to become perceptive and mature, the product visible at the beginning and end of Spies. ...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. How does Michael Frayn present the relationship between Stephen Wheatley and Keith Hayward?

    of summer she has taken to wearing that cravat pinned high around her neck' Keith's behaviour continues to reflect the effect of Keith's father on Keith. This is shown when Keith uses the same phrase as his father 'old bean' .The theme of bullying is also shown when Keith's father says 'I don't like bullying.

  2. How Effectively Does Frayn Use Barbara Berrill in 'Spies'?

    the reader all manner of adult undertones which perhaps at the time are not even noticed too much by the pair of them. Frayn's use of the purse allows his description of the semi-relationship between Stephen and Barbara to gain quite explicit suggestions without the conscious innocence of them becoming

  1. Examine the presentation of the relationship between Keith and Stephen in Spies

    Biblical allusions are present in many of Stephen's messianic descriptions of Keith, he says, "In each case he uttered the word and the words became so" Owing to their relationship Stephen is pushed into doing things he would not necessarily do.

  2. "THE TENSION CREATED IN SPIES"

    His fear has become a reality, as the "sound of breathing continues" . This is an intense experience that the reader can automatically identify with. We would like to hope all theses sudden surprises would stop there, but to drive the fear stake into us more Frayn is going to introduce the 'protagonist'.

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

    torture with this particular instrument' referring of course to the symbolic 'bayonet' or rather the simple 'carving knife'.

  2. Describe How Frayn Presents Women In Spies

    she becomes the black cat on the cigarette packet, and the blackness of the black cat....' And it is interesting that whilst such a symbol embodies a world of an unknown quantity to Stephen, for Mrs Hayward these Xs and exclamation marks in fact only relate to her sexual function

  1. How does Frayn present young Stephen in the first three chapters of "Spies"? How ...

    This is because it presents Stephen as a character who has very little confidence in himself and therefore respects anyone, without having any real reason to do so, which could be seen as something to pity him for.

  2. The Theme of Friendship in "The Kite Runner".

    Amir agha.... [he?d] sooner eat dirt.? (Hosseini 54) In this quote, Hassan is waiting for a kite with Amir. Amir does not trust in Hassan, and does not believe that the kite will fall right where they are. Amir is starting to tease Hassan about eating dirt for him, he is torturing Hassan.

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