How effectively does Frayn use Barbara Berrill in “Spies”? In “Spies”, Barbara Berrill is a character who contributes to the book throughout in many different ways, including her interactions with Stephen and overall presence in the book. Frayn achieves various different effects through her character, both affecting our view of Stephen, our view of other characters, the book as a whole and the atmosphere of the book. I believe that the criteria of effectiveness is judged on how well something affects or moves the reader, and how well something contributes to the aim of a text.
As soon as Barbara is introduced into the book on page 96, we can see this occurring, as the reader is immediately able to sense one of Barbara’s main effects and purposes in the book; the creation of humour when she is with Stephen. The reader finds their relationship comic at first due to the way that Stephen reacts when Barbara enters the lookout. Stephen describes his sense of “outrage” that Barbara should be in the lookout, and he also says that he is “offended” by her intrusion. These phrases create humour in the book because they are so exaggerated and also are strong words to use, especially for a child.
As a result, the reader feels somewhat superior to Stephen because we find it amusing that he could be so offended that someone has entered his secret place – in spite of the mature words he uses, it feels like a childish reaction to be so infuriated by this. However, I believe that because of this reaction Stephen becomes more endearing as we find his childishness amusing. This is a main effect that the use of Barbara achieves – her relationship with Stephen brings a lot of the humour to the book and also enables the reader to connect with Stephen more, which is an important factor in ensuring the book is successful.
In this way, I believe Frayn has cleverly used Barbara to successfully manipulate the reader into finding Stephen more endearing, as his behaviour with the other characters in the book may not have been enough to achieve this alone. Another way in which the use of Barbara with Stephen creates humour in the book is how Stephen justifies his dislike of her. The way that Frayn has created the character herself to be is what creates…. How Effectively Does Frayn Use Barbara Berrill in ‘Spies’? Michael Frayn uses the character of Barbara Berrill to a variety of purposes in the book ‘Spies’.
She is one of the key features to the themes of growing up and awakening views on adulthood and sexuality as well as providing Stephen with new evidence and theories as to what is going on, allowing us to see him interact with someone quite different from Keith, giving us perhaps a less biased and general view of occurrences in the close and also providing the book with some humour due to her blunt and matter-of-fact way of putting things and the way in which she acts as almost a bridge between the reader and Stephen, asking him the questions that perhaps we are asking ourselves.
The obvious purpose of Barbara Berrill does seem to be her involvement in Stephen’s blossoming understanding of the adult world. Being a year older than him, she is a little more perceptive of the things which haven’t even really crossed Stephen’s mind before, such as the possibility of parents having boyfriends and girlfriends. This is a good example of a time where Barbara clearly passes on some new ideas to Stephen, as although he is confused at first, the idea sticks with him throughout thebook as he slowly begins to realise that Barbara is right. ‘She’s taking a message to Mrs. Tracey’s boyfriend’ Now I do turn to look at her, too uncomprehending to conceal it. Auntie Dee’s boyfriend? What’s she talking about? How can someone’s aunt have a boyfriend? ” This kind of encounter with Barbara near the beginning of the book emphasises to us just how naive and innocent of the world Stephen is at that point, not able to understand the possibility of relationships outside of what was official and accepted and is perhaps one of the first times in the story that Stephen encounters something of the less glamorous side of being an dult, something so much stranger in his mind than the idea of ‘spying’ that he tries to shut it out of his head as “just the kind of thing that girls say, particularly the Berrill girls, who are running wild whilst their father is away. ” I think that Frayn uses Barbara for this purpose as she, being a year older and quite detached from what is going on, has more of …..