Analyse how Frayn presents relationship between Stephen and adults in Spies Word count: 1,718 In the novel ‘Spies’ Frayn explores the relationship between Stephen and adults. Stephen comes to the realisation of the harsh adult world, for example Frayn demonstrates that adults manipulate children to their advantage and that a child’s view is very naive as they are protected from the adult world.
This is because adults use facades to protect children and as Stephen matures he develops awareness for the facades adults for example, Mrs Hayward appears to be the perfect British ousewife however beneath her exterior she is not a holy figure but in fact a normal woman and Mr Hayward is not the war hero he was believed to be but he is in fact a violent man.
At the start of the novel Frayn uses Stephen and Mr Hayward’s relationship to convey the idea of Mr Hayward fapde as being a war hero, “he’d won a medal in the Great War, Keith had told Stephen, for killing five Germans” this demonstrates that due to Stephen’s naive mind he believes what people tell him as he could not believe that people are ‘evil’ due to his naive mind, this has led to Stephen misjudging Mr Hayward.
This is an example of how Frayn wants the reader to understand the limited perspective of childhood and how the reader is misled to accept this perspective as we see through Stephen’s eyes because Stephen found out about it from Keith who is only telling him it because he wants to make his dad sound like a hero, however for Stephen to believe it demonstrates Stephen’s childish perspective and the use of unreliable narrator.
However, further on in the novel Mr Hayward and Stephen have their first discussion as Mr Hayward wants the box that Stephen possess “he can’t snatch the basket out of my hands, because it would be eneath his dignity to secure something by force and not by fear”.
This contrast to Mr Hayward’s public identity as he appears to be the war hero to everyone in The Close however he is the complete opposite in his private identity as he is violent and is more like a Nazi which are the villains in the story than a hero, and due to this he uses fear on Stephen to obtain the information that he requires, this demonstrates that Stephen’s naivety is disappearing as he is seeing more harsh and cruel acts. This portrays how Frayn wanted to present the relationship between Stephen and Mr
Hayward as he wanted the reader to see Stephen being afraid of Mr Hayward to demonstrate the fears children have. “Stephen he never addressed at all – never so much as looked at because Stephen didn’t exist” this portrays the idea that Stephen and Mr Hayward don’t even have a relationship due to his social class and, the fact that Stephen is a child and Mr Hayward ignores Stephen completely leads to the impression of fear around Mr Hayward and due to Stephen being a child this fear is intensified and Mr Hayward only spoke to Stephen when he needed the basket.
This links to how Frayn wanted the reader to see their relationship as he wanted hem to see that the adult world isn’t as perfect as what children think it would be as it is corrupt unlike a child’s mind which is pure, the symbolises how Frayn wanted their relationship to be as Frayn wanted to demonstrate the contrast between Mr Hayward’s mind and Stephen’s mind. Frayn portrays the relationship of Stephen and Mrs Haynuara.
At tne start 0T tne novel Mrs Haynuara ana Stepnen Darely nave a relationship but, Stephen always thought that Mrs Hayward was the perfect British housewife as Mrs Hayward conformed to the role of the stereotypical house wife in he 1940s and Stephen believes that Mrs Hayward epitomises perfection “l dare not enter this holy shrine” the use of religious imagery conveys the idea that Stephen believes that Mrs Hayward is a saint and she is so divine that Stephen feels unworthy in her presence as he has such a lower social class than the Hayward family.
This symbolises how Frayn wanted their relationship to be to begin with as he wanted Stephen to be the innocent child who thought that all adults were perfect especially Mrs Hayward as she was the only adult (apart from his parents) who include him when speaking about him and Keith.
However further on in the novel Stephen’s opinion on Mrs Hayward completely changes as he thinks she is a “traitorous mother” and that “there’s something clearly wrong about her You can hear a false note in the specially graceful, specially impersonal way she talks She’s a stranger in our midst, watching us with alien eyes” this portrays the idea that to Stephen, Mrs Hayward has changed as he once saw her as the perfect British housewife however when he really looked at her he could see that she puts on a fapde and is not divine but in fact sinful and the use of the ‘stranger’ demonstrates hat to Stephen Mrs Hayward is the enemy, the fact that Stephen can see through the fapde conveys that Stephen is developing an awareness about truth and lies. This illustrates how Frayn wanted Stephen to appear to the reader as he wanted them to see that Stephen’s perspective is becoming more doubtful about what he thinks is true and what is actually true.
As the novel progresses Stephen and Mrs Hayward do build relationship as further on in the novel Stephen becomes very close with Mrs Hayward as “She gives me a wan smile. I know where IVe seen that face. It’s he one that looks seriously out of the silver frame in her sitting room… Once again I feel the locked box beginning to open and revealing its mysteries. I’m leaving behind the old tunnels and terrors of childhood – and stepping into a new world of even darker tunnels and more elusive terrors. ” The use of the bildungsroman symbolises that Stephen is actually beginning to grow up because he’s trying to look at other people and realising that they have worse and deeper secrets than the children see and seeing the truth of life.
The smile in the picture could also represent the fact that he smiles she puts on for the camera are to give a false pretence and Stephen might be realising that Mrs Haywood has not been truly happy in her marriage. This demonstrates how the relationship has become stronger as Stephen can now see behind Mrs Hayward public identity; it also demonstrates how Frayn wanted the relationship to appear as he wanted to imply that as Stephen became closer with Mrs Hayward his perspective has improved. In the novel Frayn portrays the limited relationship between Uncle Peter and Stephen as they don’t really have much of a relationship due to Uncle Peter fighting in the war however, even though they don’t ave a relationship Stephen still idolises Uncle Peter “But no one had an absent relative who could compare with Uncle Peter.
He was a bomber pilot, and he’s flown on special missions over Germany so dangerous and so secret that Keith could only hint at them” this conveys the idea that even at the start of the novel Stephen believed that Uncle Peter was the perfect war hero as he was a bomber pilot and it snows tnat tnelr relatlonsnlp was all aoout aamlratlon towards Uncle Peter. I nls emphasises how Frayn wanted to demonstrate to the reader that Stephen is a child nd children will look up to adults and worship them Just like Stephen is doing with Uncle Peter. However further on in the novel Stephen does have a discussion with Uncle Peter but he doesn’t actually realise that at the time “was uttered by an old tramp. By a German.
By an old tramp and a German with a voice almost as familiar as Keith’s mother’s own” this symbolises the fact that even Stephen doesn’t realise that it is Uncle Peter he has called the man he idolises a tramp and even though he doesn’t realise it is Uncle Peter. This displays how Frayn wanted the relationship to ppear to the reader as Frayn wanted them to see how children can have innocent perspectives as Stephen wouldn’t believe that the tramp’ was in fact Uncle Peter as he fault the Uncle Peter was a war hero when in fact he was a deserter form the war. This demonstrates the fact that Uncle Peter has lost his place in society and it conveys the idea that their relationship has been lost even though it didn’t exist in the first place.
This forces Stephen into the harsh realisation of the world as people aren’t perfect and that his view of the world is tainted by lies as he believed Uncle Peter was a hero when he was a deserter from the war. This also illustrates to the reader the narrative mind of a child as Stephen believed that Uncle Peter was a hero and the audience believed it too, however the person who was less likely to be a hero was in fact the hero who was Stephen’s dad. So to conclude, Stephen’s relationship that with Mr Hayward Stephen is petrified of him due to the fact that he is a scary person who bullies people into getting his own way whilst Stephen is the complete opposite and is afraid of Mr Hayward, this conveys the fact that their relationship is built on terror.
Stephen’s relationship with Mrs Hayward develops throughout the novel as at the start she only included him in a conversation with Keith however, throughout the novel their relationship develops and Stephen becomes the person who Mrs Hayward can trust the most as he is the person who knows the most about what is going on outside of the family, it conveys the fact that Stephen has a very strong relationship with her even though he is a child and she is an adult however Stephen relationship with Uncle Peter is completely different as Stephen once idolised Uncle Peter for being the perfect British hero however when he sees Uncle Peter again he calls him a tramp as even though he doesn’t know it is him it symbolises the fact the Uncle Peter has become a coward and that there relationship won’t continue even though it was built on Stephen’s childish fantasy.
Out of the three adults Stephen has the closet relationship with Mrs Hayward even though that as a reader we know little about her because she is only referred to in the book as ‘Mrs Hayward’ and we don’t even know her first name as in society at the time it was a patriarchal society and women were eant to be seen and not heard, this conveys the fact that even though Stephen and Mrs Hayward are close they both won’t know the truth about each other because there are too many secrets surrounding them due to the fact that Stephen is a child and Mrs Hayward is an adult. Stephen’s relationship’s with adults convey the fact that Stephen doesn’t know the full extent about them as each one of the adults has given Stephen the impression of something which isn’t true as for example Uncle Peter was seen as Delng a war nero wnlcn ne Isn’t, tnls conveys tne Tact even tnougn Stephen seems mature for his age he is in fact being lied to by adults.