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

Kingshaw's Misery in I'm the King of the Castle

Extracts from this document...


Throughout the novel I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill, we are constantly aware of the misery felt by twelve-year-old Charles Kingshaw. This, and the way it is shown, is very important in really understanding his character, and what eventually leads him to his own death. Charles Kingshaw has a series of irrational fears. Although this is normal for most children, his fears are so crippling that they go far beyond the typical childish nightmare. An example of one of these fears is swimming pools. Early on in the book, Kingshaw recalls being taken to an open-air swimming pool by his father as a much younger child. He remembers how he had feared the water, not only because he couldn't swim, but also because of its "glassy, artificial blueness" and how "people's limbs looked huge and pale and swollen underneath." He also fears the "terrible" moths in the Red Room at Warings, and is afraid of touching their "furry bodies". Another fear he has is of crows. Even before he is attacked by the crow in the cornfield outside Warings, Kingshaw notes that it has "ragged black wings" and "small, glinting eyes". ...read more.


Kingshaw's fatalism is important in understanding his misery. His description of himself is very telling of his outlook on life: "He had no good opinion of his own chances, against Hooper. Or against anyone. He was not cowardly. Just realistic, hopeless. He did not give into people, just went, from the beginning, with the assurance that he would be beaten. It meant that there was no surprise, and no disappointment, about anything". At many points in the novel, Kingshaw has moments of genuine happiness, in which he feels untouchable and in control. This is reflected in the title of the book itself, and in a later chapter in the book in which he actually climbs to the top of an ancient ruin of a castle. However, this euphoria never lasts, and he falls from his "castle" every time- all because of his own refusal to fight against what he feels is inevitability; Hooper will always beat him, he will never win. We see these moments of happiness and his sudden snap back to reality multiple times: when he discovers his secret room in Warings and Hooper finds it, so he decided to just let him in; when he ventures on his own into the woods and Hooper follows ...read more.


There is also some informal language which pulls the reader into this child's world, and endears us to him. An example of this is his thought that, "It always took longer than you expected, walking." This makes us feel Kingshaw's misery more during his moments of extreme terror. During these times the sentences get longer, punctuated by a series of commas, indicating a panicked, frantic train of thought: "He sweated a little, twisting this way and that, and reaching his left arm round behind him, to try and unhitch the string." This clearly shows us his raw, desperate fear. Rather than using lots of emotive, descriptive narration, which could detract focus from Kingshaw's character, the writer has us experience I'm the King of the Castle through Charles Kingshaw's feelings, experiences and memories. This is very effective as it lets us become more and more involved in Kingshaw's character; our attachment to him builds up into a climax throughout the novel until he ultimately commits suicide. When this happens our hopes fall as Kingshaw did so many times before and does now, one final time. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ella Gordon Kingshaw's Misery in I'm the King of the Castle 3rd October ...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 Susan Hill 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 Susan Hill essays

  1. How does Susan Hill evoke feelings of anxiety and fear in the reader?

    give, at last I knew that I would hold and win" She uses long detailed phrases when he was pulling the dog free, this made you want to read faster and made the anxiety greater. The contrast between everyday events e.g.

  2. The King of the Castle Character Assessment Joseph Hooper.

    other and feel free to come and talk to him about anything, such as if something is wrong, he doesn't want his son to be afraid to talk to his father like he was with his father. 'But you must come to me and tell me about things, you must not be afraid to admit when something is wrong.'

  1. Consider the theme of loneliness in the novel "I am the king of the ...

    Kingshaw is tired of living like this. This lack of giving love and attachment leaves Kingshaw in a very vulnerable situation, really lonely and all by himslef. Kingshaw right at the beginning suffers because of Edmund's cruelty. Without having properly met Hooper he fears him, demonstrating lots of sensitivity.

  2. I'm The King Of The Castle, by Susan Hill - Who Is Responsible For ...

    He resents the fact that she brought him to Warings and becomes increasingly ashamed of the way she talks and acts with no pride in herself. Kingshaw does not trust his mother and has no honest conversations or connections with her.

  1. How do the experiences, feelings and thoughts of Helena Kingshaw contribute to events in ...

    This is displayed through her eagerness to please, and also through her hopefulness. She, throws Hooper and Kingshaw together as many times as possible, so as to "cement friendship" between them. She pampers Hooper excessively to show her "care" for him.

  2. A comparative study of the role of children and the presentation of the experiences ...

    He raised his fists and came at Kingshaw. The scrap was brief and wordless and violent. After that first fight, Kingshaw realises he is capable of a violent act. Hooper has brought out violent impulses in Kingshaw that he did not know were there.

  1. Based on the novel by Susan Hill. A young lawyer is sent to wind ...

    When Kipps spoke to the landlord at Crythin Gifford, the landlord showed fear at the mention of Mrs Drablow, �The name had stirred some strong emotion in him�. Before Kipps gets involved with Alice Drablow`s business affairs, he has never experienced fear.

  2. Who was responsinble for the Death of Kingshaw?

    Hooper then tries to look for the stream while saying, "Right, I can hear it, it's over there.

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