Masculinity In Michael Frrayn's 'Spies'

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Michael Frayn wrote the partly autobiographical novel ‘Spies’ in 2002 to explore what we would have made, as children, of an adult life. During 1940, there was a fixed idea about masculinity. Men that didn’t fight in war felt emasculated as called as chicken or many timid names. Perhaps Mr. Hayward is a comment on the unhealthy effect of this stereotype, which makes men being more aggressive to overcompensate their absent.

In the novel ‘Spies’, Mr. Hayward’s barbaric behaviour is like an 'ogre ' because it is preceded by a sense of rudeness, giving Keith a false sense of family. The word 'ogre ' has connotation of burtal and cruel direction creates a strong imagery from a child 's perspective. This suggest that a strict person in the eyes of children is a monster. Stephen narrates how strict and unfriendly Mr. Hayward towards his son such as: ‘Thermos’, he says’. This plain request implies that Mr. Hayward treats his house and family like military which restricts their freedom as soldiers and gives orders that must be fulfilled immediately or will face his ‘consequences’. Therefore, Mr. Hayward is accusing his son to possess everything he wants. This shows his control on every possession even a small item like this ‘Thermos’. The unknown location of the ‘Thermos’ makes Mr. Hayward felt unease which wants to blame his son for getting out of his mistake. Even though Keith is Mr. Hayward’s son, his strict and impudent character doesn’t change which influences his son to
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