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    • Thread Starter

    Could someone please analyse this for me and point out any mistakes?? Thanks.
    If you could tell me what grade this would be then that'd be great

    This is for Spies btw.

    The relationship between Stephen and Keith is perhaps one of the most important and dynamic parts of the book. The way Michael Frayn portrays the friendship between the two boys alternates throughout the novel. In the beginning, the two boys are best friends, however, as the story progresses their friendship slowly starts to unravel. Keith is the lead and Stephen is the led. Keith and Stephen were both considered as social outcasts in comparison with the other children in the close: Stephen because he was small and weedy, easily bullied; Keith because he went to a private school and his family was socially superior to everyone else in the close. Their friendship consists of many missions to uncover the hidden secrets of others. Keith is quite a braggart and it all started off with a spark when Keith brags that his mother is a ‘’German spy’’, the two audacious boys embark on a mission to uncover Keith’s mothers secrets, however, this spark seems to get more and more immense as the story progresses, so immense that it manages to get out of their control... and from that point onwards, their childhoods had been besmirched eternally.

    Keith and Stephen come from two divergent worlds. Keith goes to the ‘’right local preparatory school’’ and wears yellow and black which are the ‘’right colours’’ whereas Stephen goes to the ‘’wrong’’ school and wears green and black which are the ‘’wrong colours’’. Keith comes from a wealthy family whereas Stephen comes from the complete opposite. The difference between them has an effect on their relationship. ‘’He was the officer corps in our two man army. I was the Other Ranks - and grateful to be so.’’ - (Chapter 1, page 16) This shows that Stephen is contented with this position and that he comprehends the disparities between him and Keith.

    Stephen is always allowed to go into Keith’s house however the Haywards as a whole do not treat him to great standards. It is stated that Keith’s mother never directly addresses Stephen, but she would sometimes address him and Keith collectively, as “you two” or “chaps” or she would even commission Keith to say something to Stephen individually on her behalf. This could perhaps be because Stephen and his family are known about the neighbourhood as a family of lower class and etiquette, and are not respected as much. Stephen looks up to the Haywards as his ‘’dream’’ family, in some ways, he almost envies them. He presumes that they are the ideal family and has a longing to be just like them. On the contrary, their family is not what it is made out to be...Keith’s mother conceals a dark, abject secret which is not what the boys suspect, in addition, Keith’s father is a baleful taskmaster who beats his own son with a cane.

    The boys share a secret hideout inside a privet hedge and it is from here that they devise their spying plans. The hideout is a kingdom of sorts, in which Keith is the ruler. He takes pleasure in bullying Stephen, and both his own confidence in his superiority and Stephen’s insecurity work together so that Keith’s power over Stephen remains unchallenged for much of the novel. Stephen is complicit in Keith’s dominance and often holds back suggestions or comments in order to let Keith shine, “I reason slowly, so that Keith can overtake me and resume full control of the operation” (Chapter 5, page 91, line 7). In this sense, Stephen is even aware of the fact that his best friend needs him in order to be able to shine: “Without me there’s no one for him to be braver than” (Chapter 6, page 125, line 25).

    Keith manipulates Stephen into looking foolish, forcing Stephen to try and guess what he is thinking and then mocking him if he cannot. Stephen seems to live in constant fear and is very careful of his actions, afraid of what Keith might say to them. However sometimes Keith refuses to listen to Stephen’s reasonings, such as when they went to Mrs Hayward’s study, Stephen stresses his reservations that her journal is “private” but Keith has no qualms about such matters and ignores him completely. He feels that he cannot be impressed by anything Stephen achieves because to do so robs him of the chance to demonstrate his own superiority. He abases Stephen when he discovers that he did not look at the supposedly ‘’german’’ man by the embankment because he was afraid, he accuses him of “acting like a little baby”, yet before accusing him Stephen anticipated what his reaction would be and felt ashamed. The bullying becomes so frequent that Stephen feels so worthless and allows Keith to bully him.

    The theme of bullying is demonstrated once again when Keith cuts Stephen’s throat while trying to coax information from him when he does not get what he wants. This shows that Keith has adopted his father’s persona who also used the same method of torture with Keith’s mother, which explains why she uses a cravat tied high on her neck even on the hottest days of summer. You can see more of this father-like personality when he displays some of his father’s mannerisms, showing his disapproval of Stephen with a particular face expression - a dropping of the eyelids, or a thin smile ‘as sharp as the edge of a sharpened blade’, he even adopts his father’s sayings, calling him “old bean” when he is intimidating or threatening Stephen.

    Their friendship immediately comes to a halt when Keith torments Stephen , saying he has broken his oath to keep everything secret and wounds his throat with a bayonet. Stephen feels that Keith has changed; “his eyes look into mine. They’re the eyes of a stranger”. From this point onwards, the relationship between the two boys vanishes into the air.

    I know it's really long ://
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