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Spies - Chapter 5. Using the chapter as a starting point explore how Frayn presents the theme of growing up in the novel.

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The following extract comes from chapter 5. Using the passage as a starting point explore how Frayn presents the theme of growing up in the novel. The extract I will be using as a starting point follows just after Stephen has been spying on Mrs Hayward and figures out, due to the slime, where she has been disappearing to with her basket instead of going to the shops. The passage describes the environment on the other side of the tunnel and is presented by Frayn in first person narration from older Stephen recollecting his memories and remembering what it was like from the eyes of younger Stephen. Frayn presents growing up in a variety of ways, techniques and experiences and shows how Stephens childhood was a frightening and confusing time where Stephen experiences his sexual awakening and transition into a young man. Frayn uses a semantic field of fear in the extract to show growing up is a frightening time as there are lots of references of "peril" and repetition of the word "ordeal". ...read more.


Barbara Berrill plays a significant part in both of these motifs as it is her house which is named "lamorna" and she helps Stephen discover the value of "x". Stephen pays detailed attention to Mrs Hayward's appearance as well as Barbara's and her "big brown eyes" and the recurring motif of "lamorna" is always prompted by them. The "sweet disturbance" that "lamorna" disturbs inside of him represents his feelings aroused by Barbara and Mrs Hayward. However he cannot describe them because he lacks the maturity, experience and vocabulary so this motif is his word for them. Throughout the novel the meaning of "x" changes and somewhat charts Stephens growth and maturity. The first time the motif is used is when Stephen and Keith look in Mrs Hayward's diary and they discover the x's occurring once a month. Stephen believes the meaning of "x" is the secret meetings Mrs Hayward has with a mystery German. However the meaning of "x" is then used in the context of algebra when Stephens dad asks him "what is the value of x, if 7X(=63?". ...read more.


Frayn uses metaphors in this to emphasise just how frightening it is for a young boy an example of this is when they are both in the garage and Mr Hayward "bends over some small piece of metal held in the jaws of a great vice". This implies that Stephen is the small piece of metal trapped in Mr Hayward's jaws and Mr Hayward is terrorizing the basket out of Stephens hands. The breaking of the oath is also a very important scary experience for Stephen as it is the moment when Stephen actually gets physically hurt. Keith uses the bayonet to cut Stephens throat because he showed Barbara their things, Stephen remembers how he felt and how "All I can do is to remain frozen with fear as the pressure of the blade against my windpipe gradually increases." From this evidence the reader can empathise with Stephen and understand how horrifying it must have been to be hurt by someone who was allegedly his best friend. Frayn portrays growing up as a confusing time of life and shows Stephen as na�ve and an unreliable narrator. ...read more.

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