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

How does Frayn present ideas about growing up in 'Spies'?

Extracts from this document...


How does Frayn present ideas about growing up in Spies? In the novel Spies, the motifs of personal growth, growing up and childhood are all integral to the plotline. It could be said that besides the theme of memory, growing up is the most crucial theme of the novel. As a genre, Spies fits clearly into bildungsroman style, showing the importance of Stephen's personal development with relation to the storyline. Throughout Spies, Stephen shows a great deal of personal growth as a character, from his outlook on life, to the ways he interacts with other characters. Frayn expresses this through a variety of literary techniques. Spies' narrative style is set from two perspectives. Firstly, a reflective third person narrative from Stefan's perspective as an elderly man that is recalling childhood memories. Secondly, a more direct first person narrative which seems to be more the perspective of Stephen as a young child. The contrast in narrative allows for greater flexibility in showing the contrast between the more mature man, and his younger counterpart. In chapter 9 when Mrs Hayward appeals to Stephen for his help, the perspective switches in the middle of the chapter, which is also indicative of the thought process of the character at that point. ...read more.


Characters such as Barbara Berrill and the Hardiment children provide aspects of comedy as to how they perceive the world, and how they are perceived by Stephen and the other children of the close. Barbara, being slightly older than Stephen, appears to have a more mature view on the world, yet it is shown how it is not necessarily correct, as when she claims 'lots of ladies have boyfriends while everyone's Daddies are away'. This shows a more romantic outlook on the world, biased by girls' magazines and entertainment predominately focused more towards love, relationships, and families, rather than war and machismo. Other instances include credence being given to Elizabeth Hardiment due to the fact that she wears glasses; with no other basis for the claim that she is more knowledgeable or intelligent than any of the other children. Frayn also makes frequent use of symbolism to imply aspects of personal growth or sexual awakening. On a large scale, the tunnel that both Mrs Hayward and Stephen pass through to get to the barns can be said to represent a grander theme of Stephen's transition from safety of childhood, to the more troubling nature of adulthood that Mrs Hayward frequents often. ...read more.


As he begins to understand the meanings of the 'x' marks, he also begins to realise the childish nature of what he originally believed Mrs Hayward's secrets were about. By maturing enough to grasp the more romantic nature of 'x' marks, rather than the sinister, allows him to accept more the idea that Mrs Hayward's secret is of a more feminine and sexual nature than her being a German spy. Therefore, the ideas Frayn presents on the concept of growing up in Spies are largely in the use of symbolism and perspective switch, creating the varying levels of understanding for younger Stephen, and allowing the reader to understand the contrast between the thoughts and perspective of the younger character, versus the more elderly character reflecting. This also reinforces the overall theme of memory in the novel, as to have only one perspective throughout Spies would deny the reader to a whole level of the character's emotions, either the more analytical emotions expressed in reflective speech, or the more abrupt and immediate emotions of the character as he is dealing with the situations he is facing. It is the combination of the two that creates the level of effectiveness that Spies has as a novel. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Reviews of Personal Performances 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 GCSE Reviews of Personal Performances essays

  1. Devised Practical Evaluation for 'The Guilt'

    We determined that our costumes would remain as simple as possible throughout the play because of the many scene changes it would become to difficult to change in such a short amount of time. This gave us more time to concentrate on more significant areas of the play such as the lighting and set design.

  2. Compare and contrast the method and effectiveness of the narrative technique used in 'To ...

    It also adds the opinions of the people giving the accounts. An opinion on someone or something can change the way an event is perceived, varying from person to person. In 'To the Wedding' it is not entirely clear why Tsobanakos chooses to tell the story.

  1. 'A Town Like Alice' (Chapter 1)

    In the end, they lived there for three years. Jean then told Mr Strachan that is why she wanted to go to Malaya to dig a well. When she went there, She met Mr and Mrs Wilson-Hays who will help her and also heared from the well diggers that Joe Harman was not dead and he had lived. (B)

  2. We had to create a tableaux image of the four strong words in the ...

    a 'pier' but instead to walk through the passage way of a train. The central character had to be slow, and all the other people in the performance were going fast around him, this is so the focus of the performance is on the main character.

  1. Equus, Peter Schaffer

    Scene 32: (Alan - to Jill) "The stables?" (Jill) "Of course!"... (Alan recoiling) "No!" Alan says 'no' to Jill three more times, but they still go. Later, in Scene 33, Alan insists that the door is locked. Also, in this scene, Alan becomes very uneasy.

  2. Write about how the authors have made you aware of different experiences and feelings ...

    We all know Narrator was only invited because they needed someone else to play the game, not because she wanted her. Paula was really unfriendly with the Narrator. She fancies Jimmy lane and always allowed herself to be caught by him.

  1. Describe two of the following psychological approaches: the psychodynamic perspective, the cognitive perspective, the ...

    Classical conditioning is when we do something as a reaction to something, like you hear your doorbell ring, so you answer your door. Operant conditioning is when you perform a task in order to produce an expected outcome. Observational learning is when we learn to model our behavior after someone else's actions, such as a role model.

  2. 'The house of the spirits' : How are the concerns of the novel embodied ...

    The writer can be called as successful writer for the way she has created the male voice as one typical of the nature of male human. Esteban Trueba as male voice also keeps on defending himself and he keeps on insisting himself as a good patron but he does not

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