How effectively does Frayn use Barbara Berrill in "Spies"?
In "Spies", Barbara Berrill is a character who contributes to the book throughout in many different ways, including her interactions with Stephen and overall presence in the book. Frayn achieves various different effects through her character, both affecting our view of Stephen, our view of other characters, the book as a whole and the atmosphere of the book. I believe that the criteria of effectiveness is judged on how well something affects or moves the reader, and how well something contributes to the aim of a text. As soon as Barbara is introduced into the book on page 96, we can see this occurring, as the reader is immediately able to sense one of Barbara's main effects and purposes in the book; the creation of humour when she is with Stephen.
The reader finds their relationship comic at first due to the way that Stephen reacts when Barbara enters the lookout. Stephen describes his sense of "outrage" that Barbara should be in the lookout, and he also says that he is "offended" by her intrusion. These phrases create humour in the book because they are so exaggerated and also are strong words to use, especially for a child. As a result, the reader feels somewhat superior to Stephen because we find it amusing that he could be so offended that someone has entered his secret place - in spite of the mature words he uses, it feels like a childish reaction to be so infuriated by this. However, I believe that because of this reaction Stephen becomes more endearing as we find his childishness amusing. This is a main effect that the use of Barbara achieves - her relationship with Stephen brings a lot of the humour to the book and also enables the reader to connect with Stephen more, which is an important factor in ensuring the book is successful. In this way, I believe Frayn has cleverly used Barbara to successfully manipulate the reader into finding Stephen more endearing, as his behaviour with the...
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