The lives of the Moore family are rife with conflict.
As Alec lived a childhood of isolation it is the conflict between his parents that affects him most. Alec knows that his parents only met when with him at meal times and these meetings only serve to show, unfamiliarity and disinterest, “Their only meeting place was the child”. While Alec tells us that his mother won all arguments it is the nature of the arguments and the shape they take that shows the extent of the conflict within the family, “Their words dropped malevolent and cool from well-bred mouths”. On numerous occasions Alicia dismisses her husband.
The suggestion of Alec going to school by Frederick is met with Alicia telling her husband he makes “the most absurd remarks” and “I have no intention of remaining in this house with you alone”. The conflict between his parents intensifies when it is suggested that Alec should go to war. Frederick has been very vocal about the stupidity of this war and this new idea of Alicia’s makes him become more vocal “taken leave of your senses”. Again Alicia becomes dismissive of her husband and tells him to go about his work. Alicia had remarked how Alec was becoming like his father and in an attempt to destroy any closeness they had she suggests Frederick is not Alec’s father. In order to avoid this new revelation Alec decides to go to war and essentially Alicia wins and in doing so destroys the potential relationship Alec could have had with his father.
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