Question: How does Frayn present Stephen and Keith’s relationship at the start of the novel?
Through analysis of Michael Frayn’s 2002 novel, Spies, Stephen and Keith’s relationship plays a large factor within the plot of the novel, this is seen especially at the beginning. Frayn manages to represent this relationship in numerous ways that give different meanings depending upon what the context is. One such representation is adult Stephen’s perception of the relationship they had and how Keith acted. This perception can be seen as somewhat spiteful to the audience, which is shown in part 2 with the two paragraphs “And in the middle of it all … and our ordinary grey shorts.” These two paragraphs show amazing sight into the mind of adult Stephen. An example of this is his description of the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ schools. This small rant of his can be seen as ‘having a dig’, i.e. being satirical, about the school and class system enforced upon him and his childhood friend. The specific words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are extremely important within this rant as they further emphasise his disgust and distaste for said system. They do this by simplifying the system down to it’s basic principles without mannerisms or politeness, i.e. the ‘right’ school was only for those that were from the ‘right’ families whereas the ‘wrong’ school was for those that weren’t from those families. This simplistic view can be compared notably with the idea of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, or ‘black’ and ‘white’, which shows the reader that the idea that people can be treated in that manner because of prejudices is ridiculous. Another perception of the exact same rant could be child Stephen’s perception of it. This perception is of annoyance, irritation and acceptance. The fact that he is talking about the ‘right’ school is such detail could be seen as his jealousy and longing to belong at said ‘right’ school with Keith instead of at the ‘wrong’ school where he currently attended. The...
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