Kingshaw’s Shame

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Kingshaw’s Shame

As the novel progresses, Kingshaw’s isolation from his Mother turns into deep hurt and shame as Mrs Kingshaw’s lack of Motherly love becomes ever more apparent. Kingshaw is disturbed and horrified by the possibility of Hooper’s death at his hands, and that night runs crying to Mrs Kingshaw’s bedroom. Not finding her there, Kingshaw is desperately ashamed that “it had been Mr Hooper, Mr Hooper” who held him and not his own Mother. Though Kingshaw had known for a long time that his Mother “didn’t know what was inside his head” (130) he had hoped that he might still find some level of comfort with her in his time of need. The repetition of the name: ‘Mr Hooper, Mr Hooper’ indicates Kingshaw’s shock that this is not the case – Mrs Kingshaw remains both physically and emotionally distant, and Mr Hooper is the only person left that he can turn to. That he should be reduced to needing Mr Hooper’s support also provokes feelings of shame in Kingshaw as subconsciously, he has come to resent him for tying his Mother to Warings. The bracelets that Mrs Kingshaw wears and keeps fiddling with are symbolic of her bind to Mr Hooper, which, as they grow, keep her loyalty chained to him and thus not to her son. This idea of loyalty links to the way that the boys, who both have very lacking parental figures, still attempt desperately to convince the other that this is not the case. Hooper says confidently that “anybody who hasn’t got a father is useless” (113) though he dislikes his father. Nevertheless, Kingshaw feels unable to defend himself as Mrs Kingshaw has not been good to him, and blames her for it.
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