How Many Miles to Babylon?

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“How many miles to Babylon?”

Alec Moore - Narrator
Frederick Moore - Father to Alec
Mrs. Moore - Mother to Alec
Jerry Crowe - Friend to Alec
Mrs. Crowe - Mother to Jerry
Major Glendinning - Commending Officer to Jerry and Alec in the army. General Points -
§ Main Theme: Love vs. Hatred
§ Reflects different stages of Narrator Development
- There’s a continuous stream of consciousness, no chapters § Ireland
§ France
§ Love - of country
- passionless love of duty
- of power and wealth
- narcisstic love (love of self)

Theme and Issues:

Setting the Scene –
§ Alec Narrates his tale of a loveless child, leaving him emotionless and scarred cruel mother, manipulative and hateful
§ He was always goaded by his “beautiful mother”
§ Mrs. Moore’s beauty contrasted to her vindictive personality. She’s swift and dismissive (passionless) § Home with no affefction
“The dining room in the daytime was unwelcoming”

Relationship with his mother –
§ Described through an experience when he seen his mother feeding the swans, thinking she was another woman for a split second, and felt love for her. This shows us that he doesn’t know his mother that well, mistaking her for another person but also that he only feels love for her when she is perceived as someone else. Compared to Christy’s love with his mother in “My left foot” – he has a continuous plutonic love for her. § Mrs. Moore’s human relationships are meaning less and without power. § She feels she is not capable of love as they are never aloud the freedom to experience it themselves. § She has been taught only the proper etiquette of the wealthy at the experience of wealthy needs. The mother is jealous of Alec’s father and their relationship. § She is again jealous of Alec’s developing relationships, such with Jerry, but also is worried what other people may think of a higher class boy, being friends with a lower class boy. Therefore, she wants to destroy it. § She removes Alec from school, just so she won’t be left alone in the day. This is also a way for her to get to her husband, showing him that her and Alec also have a relationship, although it is fake.

Relationship with Father –
§ Alec feels real affection for his father, shown in his willingly attitude to spend time with him by the fire. He loves him within the bounds of duty and sensitivity. § He leaves his father with loosing his only love in the family, when joining the army “heart rendering” when he leaves. § They don’t display their love or intensity of feelings for one another, but it is evident e.g. when he accepts money as a “gesture of love” § His golden watch is given to Alec –

Metaphorically represented as the beating of his heart. It will – “protect him from danger”

Image of Women as hateful figures –
§ The mother sees Alec’s decision to join the army as a personal triumph. She doesn’t have worries about the probable loss of her son’s life at war, but instead begins to enjoy the sympathy of her peers that she will receive from having her son at war. § Jerry and Alec ridicule their “hypocritical mothers” as a display of grief as they go to war § Alec makes fun of his mother for her intensity towards him, showing us that he doesn’t take her seriously.

War as an image of hatred –
§ The topic of war, adds a sense of horror
§ The combination depicts a metaphorical journey for these characters from a debased nation of love in Alec to the trenches. § The trenches are described as a physical representation of humankind without the power of love. It depicts the true meaning of evil and hate in contrast to love.

Major Glendinning –
§ He never shows remorse – he shows precision and dispassion by the murder of “Gloucester’s Regiment” § This illustrates the breakdown of the inherent moral code in humanity § When Alec requests leave for Jerry he shows compassion

Paradoxical Aspect – to Jerry Crowe’s character. Contrary to loving nature

Jerry Crowe –
§ He abides...
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