The Relation Between Stephen and Madame Azaire in Birdsong

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Explore the relationship between Stephen and Madame Azaire in the opening of ‘Birdsong’

In this essay I will be arguing that the relationship between Stephen and Madame Azaire is intangible in the opening of Birdsong. I think that the reason Faulks has done this is to engage the reader so that throughout the novel it is unclear on how their relationship is going to develop. I will be exploring a number of different encounters with Stephen and Madame Azaire. I will be talking about how their relationship is shown at the beginning of the novel and how they act around each other when they first meet. Faulks also uses a lot of references to eye contact when talking about Madame Azaire and Stephen and I will be exploring the importance of this. I will also be exploring how Faulks describes the character of Stephen and how he contrasts with the other male characters. Also I will be looking at the language Faulks uses when describing Madame Azaire. When Stephen and Madame Azaire first meet he walks into the dining room where the family are already seated but Madame Azaire stands up, showing that before even knowing him she has a certain amount of respect for him. Also when he enters there seems to be excitement in her voice when greeting him ‘Ah, Monsieur, your seat is here.’ We get a sense that Madame Azaire is looking forward to some different company other than her husband and wants to make Stephen feel welcome. Stephen then returns the respect by taking her hand and bowing his head ‘briefly’ which could suggest that the atmosphere between them may be slightly awkward and he doesn’t want to seem too lost in her as he can feel the stares of two children. When Madame Azaire’s son, Grégoire, asks Stephen’s age she quickly snaps at him as if she doesn’t want to offend Stephen and in some ways is embarrassed of her family as she wants to impress him. As well as when they first meet the awkwardness between Stephen and Madame Azaire continues when Faulks refers to the...
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