Consider the theme of loneliness in the novel "I am the king of the castle"

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Sophie Secaf                 11/08/05

Consider the theme of loneliness in the novel “I am the king of the castle”

The novel “I am the King of the Castle” clearly explores the themes of loneliness, sadness and depression in its plot. All of the main characters have dificulties with relationships and end up facing depressive moments and expiriences, some insignificant but some crucial and terrifing.

Joseph Hooper (father), Edmund Hooper (son) and Charles Kingshaw are three characters showing explicit loneliness almost throughout the whole novel. Their loneliness is shown by several reasons and caused by a large number of factors, most involving family issues.

         Joseph Hooper’s loneliness is caused mainly by his everyday lifestyle and habits. The loss of his wife made him deserted and very distant from his own son, Edmund Hooper.  He is absent from the life of his son, ending up with having no one at all.

Susan Hill makes us notice Joseph Hooper´s loneliness in several ways using special techniques. It is easy to tell he is lonely without having to read much into the book or into his character. He doesn’t have a wife, and is not close to his son at all, neither by companionship nor by simply just educating him. Susan Hill also describes him in a very insecure way. We can notice this because he is always trying to prove himself to other people, even to his son, showing immaturity and lack of confidence. His timidity allows him to be easily vulnerable:

“He shrank from the impression in the boy’s eyes, from his knowingness. He was his mother’s son.”


Joseph hooper is so apprehensive, he is threatened by his own son. We can notice he is also a kind of “desperate” guy by the way he acts towards Miss Kingshaw and by the fact that he wants her recieves her in his house without even knowing her well enough. His insecurity and fear of approximating to Miss Helena Kingshaw resembles his lonesomeness. Even though he wants her, his habit of being alone stops him from taking further action at the start. When he says to Miss Kingshaw “ I am a lonely man” right after he meets her, we can immediately spot his sexual urge. Joseph Hooper is a portrait of failure. His lack of action towards his son and Miss Kingshaw shows he is a very reserved guy, but actually this is not the way he wanted to be. His fears of being rejected and abandoned control him even though on the inside he wants to take action. He lacks confidence. We can see his deficiency towards Edmund when instead of controling him and punishing after a fight he thinks to himslef “Perhaps I should strike him. Perhaps it is very foolish to let him get the upper hand.” Edmund, even when he feels sad, rejects intimacy with Mr Hooper when he says “It is fine, I am all right” after his father questions him about his state , pushing there relationship further away. He competes with his own son which demonstrates weakness.

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        Charles Kingshaw is the son of Helena Kingshaw. He has lost his father and is also not close to his mother at all. She tries to educate him but in a very superficial way and has inability to understand him. It even seems as if it is an obligation of her part and her life is more important than any other thing. Kingshaw hates everything at Warnings at his first impressions. His mom doesen’t have any proper affection for him and dosen’t even notice he hates Warnings and really suffers there. He dosen’t like Edmund Hooper at all for his ...

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