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

Explore the ways Frayn uses multiple genre in his novel 'Spies'

Extracts from this document...


Explore the ways Frayn uses multiple genre in his novel 'Spies'. Throughout 'Spies', Frayn introduces us to several key genres. As the reader we are unsure which of these is entirely central to the novel; however, three prominent genres seem to arise. We see 'Spies' primarily as a mystery novel, with the unfolding plot of the "German spy", the truths that are yet to be found and the questions that are left unanswered. 'Spies' is also presented as a 'coming-of-age' novel: Stephen's conflicting ideas of childhood and the adult world and his own journey into adolescence. Finally, the novel is portrayed as a work of philosophy: the 'novel of ideas'. Concepts relating to this genre are conveyed through Frayn's portrayal of the ambiguity of memory, the confusion of illusion and reality, and perception. The concept of mystery is introduced to the reader in the very opening chapter of 'Spies', and remains with us throughout the novel. Stefan hints of a "secret thing...still waiting to be discovered", but we are given no idea of what this might be; questions are left unanswered and it seems that even the narrator himself does not know quite why this "familiar breath of sweetness" is a "cue for such powerful feelings". The mystery here is why the smell of the Liguster and the memories Stefan begins to reveal have affected him so much that he feels he must return to "bring them out into the daylight at last". ...read more.


It is Barbara Berrill who first introduces Stephen to the adult world by mentioning the concept of an adult having a boyfriend. Stephen finds this an "impossible idea", but one that begins to prey on his mind more and more once Barbara has left, imagining that Mrs Hayward and Auntie Dee are "telling each other the kind of things that Deirdre and Barbara tell each other". This is a concept Stephen has no way of accessing: he realises that he can watch adults from the lookout, but unlike Barbara Berrill he is unable to imagine what they could be thinking or saying. As they watch Mr and Mrs Hayward together, Barbara claims that "they're having a terrible row", but all Stephen can see is that "they're talking quietly and reasonably". Barbara Berrill has a much more knowing interpretation of adult life and Stephen begins to slowly adopt her views, as much as he first refuses to accept her "speculations about the behaviour" of Keith. Before Stephen even begins to mature in this way, he has already started to embrace some ideas of the expectations of boys and men. He refers to the "long examination board of childhood" and understands that as a male he must "show courage" and prove himself fit "for man's estate". These early ideas of the pressures and expectations of men show an understanding that Stephen will later be able to have for the man trapped the Barns, simply "looking for refuge". ...read more.


However, he insists that the mystery of x was never both a German and a tramp: these were simply "two quite unrelated things". These concepts of knowledge and understanding are introduced to the reader as a moment to step back from the focus of the plot and reflect on the incidents that have recently occurred. Another philosophical idea explored by Frayn is how civilisations change over time. As Stefan returns to the Avenue "half a century" later he finds that "the stringy prunus saplings" are now "wise and dignified trees". In the Close itself, Stefan is surprised to find that "everything is as it was...and everything has changed". A "shock of familiarity" hits him as he enters the Close, but this soon subsides and he realises that "it's changed completely". There is no longer a tangle of "luxuriant growth" in front of every house; the mystery of each "separate kingdom" has vanished with time and Stefan feels that "even the sky has changed". By using multiple genre in his novel, Frayn is able to interweave the mystery, coming-of-age and philosophical topics together to create a tale that is gripping, moving and reflective. Stylistic techniques such as the two perspectives of narration are used to highlight the effectiveness of these genres: we are able to feel the tension that the young Stephen experiences as well as gaining the insight and thoughts of Stefan as a grown man. Frayn applies all of these factors successfully throughout 'Spies' and as an audience we are satisfied with the use of multiple genre and the outcome of the plot. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Films section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

***** This is an excellent essay. The candidate sticks to the essay question throughout. Apt quotations have been selected and analysed in a sophisticated manner.

Marked by teacher Cath Rowe 05/09/2013

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 AS and A Level Films essays

  1. Analysis of Pretty Woman. The popular romantic comedy, Pretty Woman, is a story ...

    Networking, the "informal relationships that allow individuals or groups to tap into, and share, resources," is first seen at the party when the movie opens. Edward, co-workers and other members of the elite society gathered together in an informal setting, where they discuss work-related subjects, make connections with other businesses, and become acquainted with other people in the business world.

  2. Analyse how tap dancing has been influenced by Fred Astaire as a performer

    in film-bring a revitalizing jazz influence to classical musicals" (Jane Feuer, 1978, page 491). The solo is rhythmically complex with a series of animated, loose shuffling steps with large arm movements and hand clapping, which appear to be very spontaneous and imaginative, building on Bubbles style.

  1. Rwandan Comparison. The films Hotel Rwanda and Shake Hands with the Devil portray the ...

    As opposed to this, Roy Dupuis' physical features do not make it so easy for the viewer to connect to Dallaire. Dupuis makes Dallaire seem like a charismatic leader, an extraordinarily powerful individual. However in the movie, Dallaire is portrayed as a powerless individual, with no one listening to what

  2. analysis american history x

    What is interesting is Danny's vulnerable character and almost victim like ways such as him being pushed from left to right, nodding constantly at Derek's statements and his soft gullible look give you an indication that he will possibly be a victim later on in the movie for example when he is shot at the very end.

  1. Analysis of the opening scene of sin city

    You see what you are meant to see, and you are meant to draw your own conclusions. This scene was actually shot as a "test shoot" that Rodriguez organized so that he could prove to Miller that Sin City could be done.

  2. comparison between two films

    They are also aesthetically pleasing. 'The Queen' uses no special effects, and the use of simple continual cutting, which makes the film appear more realistic and natural as with a documentary. However there is a lot of seamless interweaving of real footage with that of the newly filmed footage.

  1. In the short story, Behind the Blue Curtain by Steven Millhauser, the protagonist is ...

    Similarly, his call is a product of coincidence, as neither his father, nor his mother or best friend can join him in a quest he must make on his own. The journey which the young narrator takes introduces him to a variety of new things, one being the female he meets just before leaving the world behind the blue curtain.

  2. Looking at two films studies, compare and contrast their representation of the future (Planet ...

    a thirty year war begins which leaves the world half dead from disease and shell shock. In its place a 'new order' rises, governed by one technocratic regime. There are obvious connections to both films, most notably to POTA. We don't know what caused the post-apocalyptic state of the earth

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