Importance of Roger Mason in 'The Spire'

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Consider the presentation and importance of Roger Mason in “The Spire”

Roger Mason is a vital character in the novel, without whom there would be no spire at all. Even before the reader is introduced to Roger there are hints that he will be important to the plot. Jocelin’s first mention of the phrase ‘cost what you like’ coincides with the first introduction to Roger; this foreshadows the sacrifice of Roger and the breakdown he suffers due to the pressure put on him by Jocelin, the spire and even his relationship with Goody Pangall.

In many ways Roger can be seen as the strength behind the spire. From Golding’s physical description of him, using phrases such as ‘bullet head’, ‘like a bear’ and ‘his heavy eyebrows’, the reader gains the impression that he is solid and his expertise in building shows him to be very factual and rational. Nearly all of Roger’s attributes are the antithesis to Jocelin’s; where Roger is down-to-earth, Jocelin is spiritual and deluded. Both men are compared to animals in the novel, Roger is likened to ‘a bear’ and a ‘dog’ whereas Jocelin is described as ‘an eagle’ and ‘beaky’, Golding’s choice of animals here show the reader how the two men have completely different views of the world. Roger’s confrontation with Jocelin highlights the antithesis between them. Roger, as an earthy man, can see that the spire is dangerous and a nearly impossible concept and regards Jocelin’s vision with ‘contempt and amusement’, whereas Jocelin believes that it will be held up simply by his faith and prayer, ‘God will provide’. These contrary descriptions reappear throughout the novel and intertwine their lives until, ironically, it becomes clear that the spire only gets built due to a combination of Jocelin’s delusion and insistence on his vision and Roger’s skill.

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Roger and Jocelin not only have opposing natures but also relationships and interactions with women. Jocelin fails, or refuses, to understand women but Roger has an unusually equal relationship for the medieval times with his wife and they are often seen together around the cathedral, ‘inseparable’. His relationship with Rachel is important as it emphasises Jocelin’s inability to deal with a woman who is ‘not like a decent reticent Englishwoman’ or ‘silent Goody Pangall’, Jocelin spends much of the novel trying to avoid Rachel and Golding continually describes her as a ‘body’ or a ‘face’. The fact that Roger ...

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