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

Spies. Describe the means Frayn uses to tell Stephen's story

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Lucy Licence Describe the means Frayn uses to tell Stephens story The Second World War broke out in September 1939 under the direction of Adolf Hitler, the British mainland was never invaded, but was subject to bombings during the blitz. At the centre of this was ?the Close? in which two inquisitive boys sought understanding into the adult world, with terrifying consequences. This bildungsroman tells the story of protagonist Stephen, a painfully shy boy who is aware of what he considers his own social inferiority, and is in awe of his domineering friend Keith, through a variety of means, typical of modernism, about a summer in which six words ?changed everything. As words do?. Frayn presents Spies in a conversational, informal style to tell Stephens story in which the sequence of the narrative is often interrupted with frequent and sometimes abrupt interjections and intrusions by the first person narrator. This is reflected in the way that the reader is invited to accompany Stephan down ?Memory Lane?, particularly ?Amnesia Avenue? in a way that he often talks directly to himself, rather than to the reading audience, as he struggles to remember what happened. ...read more.


Described by the monosyllabic oxymoron ?sweet reek?, this shows that to Stephen he gets a feelings of both pleasure and discomfort from the plant. The pleasure could be in a sexual form as the scent has a ?sexual urgency? to it, which could be seen as a humorous juxtaposition as it is rather strange that an ordinary shrub could relate to sex. However the reader discovers later in the book, that Stephen indeed goes through a phase of sexual confusion surrounding Mrs Haywood and Barbarra Berrill, two characters often shown in binary opposition .Perhaps this can be conveyed in the symbolism in the objects that these characters are often associated with. Stephen is on the verge of puberty, on the edge of adolescence, and the bayonet he obsesses over could be said to be representative of his coming manhood or his desire for manhood. The reader is told that bayonet has been sharpened to ?a point like a rapier?. This simile gives a contorted image that the knife is rather phallus shaped, which is depictive of their gender, but also runs with the recurring theme, in the novel, of a struggle for sexual identity. ...read more.


However it could be said that the confusion surrounding privet is purposely humorous as the misinterpretations 'privet', 'private' and 'privey' give the novel a source of comedy. His joke of privet and privies being mixed up is the kind of 'toilet humor' that young boys enjoy and adds an extra dimension to frayn turning the joke on Stephen. Frayn uses humor as a technique of presenting the childish perspective in sophisticated language to highlight their naivety but in a way that doesn't undermine the novels seriousness of its events and concerns particularly the war. The last chapter, of 11-a feature of post modernism literature-, repeats the phrase, from the begining ?everything in the Close was as it was; and everything has changed? and the scent of the privet returns showing connotations that the narrators story, journey, pilgrimage is still unresolved, and no peace of mind has been achieved. On the journey Frayn captures the naivety of childhood, and the strange mix of knowingness and ignorance that characterised children of the Second World War in England. Through Stephens?s epistemological considerations, we learn of his unseemly tale in which the young boy grows up through the events of one memorable summer during those ?years of madness?. ...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 Effectively Does Frayn Use Barbara Berrill in 'Spies'?

    This very childish and immature view of girls and relationships makes Frayn's use of the character of Barbara, introduced as Stephen's first love interest, even more effective as we see Stephen transform from a boy who does not have the slightest understanding of the feminine world to someone who has felt these more 'grown-up' feelings.

  2. Spies by Michael Frayn. How does Frayn show Stephen's mental progression from childhood ...

    The effects of adolescence on Stephen's childish state of mind are later revealed by Frayn, by dismantling his relationship with Keith in favour of friendship with Barbara and Mrs.

  1. Analyse the ways in which Frayn presents the relationship between Stephen and Keith in ...

    The shortness expresses his guilt and how upset he must feel at this point. The final obstacle to their relationship was the fact that Stephen, in a moment of weakness, had shared all of their secrets with Barbara. Keith probably felt betrayed, perhaps even jealous.

  2. Spies - Chapter 5. Using the chapter as a starting point explore how Frayn ...

    Frayn also portrays Stephens growth when older Stephen is remembering how he travelled through the tunnel and says "I feel the awkward twist of my body". This could represent Stephens growing pains and his changing physique as he is going through the metaphorical tunnel of growing up.

  1. Analyse how Frayn presents relationships between adults and children in Spies

    For Stephen, adults may as well be a different species. He finds it inconceivable, as children do, that the adults surrounding him were once children with the same worries and preoccupations as he has. He finds it impossible to imagine Auntie Dee and Mrs Hayward as sisters -'Auntie Dee was another amazing ornament of the Hayward family'(pg23).

  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. Use Of Recurring Motifs In "Spies" By Michael Frayn

    At every crucial point in the book, the "bayonet" makes an appearance. When Keith first tells Stephen of his secret, when Barbara takes over Keith's position as Stephen's best friend and finally when Keith attacks Stephen with it, which not only effectively ends his friendship with Stephen, but also highlights Keith's hidden violent and disturbed nature.

  2. Barbara Berrill

    This creates the humour around this technique because Stephen is acting superior, yet the reader understands that this is really the opposite of how he should be feeling - our superiority leads to an almost condescending feeling of humour at his attitude.

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