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Birdsong: Is it possible for readers to feel any sympathy for Azaire in the novel as a whole?

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Dani Jones English a-level Pre-course task Exam question: Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks Is it possible for readers to feel any sympathy for Azaire in the novel as a whole? In the book ?Birdsong? the author Sebastian Faulks narrates the story through the character Stephen Wraysford. In the first section of the novel, part one France 1910, Stephen is sent by his benefactor to work with the character Rene Azaire at his textile factory. All through part one, we learn of the Azaire family, some of their background and how they live. Furthermore throughout this chapter, Faulks challenges whether readers or characters from the book is able to feel compassion for him or not. Early in the novel, we start to discover the secrets between Rene and his wife, Isabelle. We suss that Rene physically beats his wife and we first see signs of this on pages 16-17, ?It turned to a gasp which, because of its sudden move into a higher register, was clearly one of pain.? Regardless that we comprehend this very early in the novel, we do not uncover the reason ...read more.


We see that she is a deceiving character as she appears to be a respectful woman at first but then we start to see cracks in this. From this the readers may feel sorry for Rene, as his wife keeps secrets from him. On the other hand, this implies that he does not pay his workers a lot of money or they would be able to pay for there own food. Also, that he might not respect his worker enough to care for there wellbeing, and his wife has to make up for this. Making him look selfish, mean and shows the readers that he cares about hierarchy. This makes it hard for the readers to feel sympathy for him as he does not feel sympathy for his workers. In the novel Isabelle starts to get attracted to Stephan and begins to have an affair with him, ?He kissed her mouth, which opened.? This shows that she does not love Rene anymore, if she ever did from the start. ...read more.


However he also does this to wife showing he thinks he is better than most people, ?Azaire smiled indulgently and shook his head at his wife?s frivolous tastes.? It makes him an arrogant character who considers himself superior to people such as: his wife, his workers and people he barely knows. The can make the readers dislike him as people generally dislike people who think they are better than others and people who frown upon others because they?re superior. For the readers it is hard to feel sympathy as he comes across has a self-centered arrogant character. In conclusion, Azaire is not a nice character as a whole, as we see he does not treat people, including his wife, as he would of liked to be treated and he thinks he is much better than most people around him as well as puts people down. We also see though that there are times when he is being betrayed by people he is closet by, for example, Isabelle and her cheating. Overall, readers cannot feel sympathy for him despite there being times when they could. ...read more.

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