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

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  • Essay length: 1235 words
  • Submitted: 21/02/2007
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GCSE Reviews of Personal Performances

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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

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