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    Mystery and suspense throughout the book Essay

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    Both Stephen and Keith have qualities of a spy. They are very discreet and inconspicuous in their hideout when they spy on Keith’s mother. When they are in the privet, ‘no one in the world can see’ them. This implies that they are very secretive about their undercover spying activities. Furthermore, Stephen is presented as being extremely courageous and daring as he follows Keith’s mother to the tunnels on his own. The setting, which is at nighttime, adds tension because darkness insinuates danger and apprehension.

    As well as that, tension is raised dramatically as Frayn uses the first person, young narrator here. This contributes in amplifying his loneliness and permits Frayn to include more detail to the story. Additionally, it allows the reader to visualize Stephen’s surroundings more clearly and enables us to relate to Stephen’s emotions and senses at such a crucial point in his life. When Stephen discovers the box in the tunnel, he finds that ‘there’s no trace of any light reflected from the bottom of the box.

    ‘ He looks into sheer ‘blackness. ‘ This is a metaphor for the overwhelming depth and complexity of his fear. He realizes that ‘there’s something wrong about the blackness-something wrong with the sound of it … What’s wrong is that there is no sound. ‘ Frayn has generated silence at this point. This increases the tension to a climax and builds up a threatening mood full of fear and danger. Stephen is presented as being enigmatic when the boys at school bully him by pulling his ears.

    He remains ‘sustained against them by the sheer importance of the secret knowledge logged between these two abused ears. ‘ This suggests that Stephen feels superior to his bullies as he thinks that he knows a top secret. Keith on the other hand is very confident in his manners, decisive and plans ahead their projects carefully. He takes the initiative constantly-‘it was Keith who’d discovered Trewinnick’ ‘It was Keith who’d devised the overhead cableway. ‘ This highlights the fact that Keith is adventurous and always in control.

    His characteristic of being precise is displayed when he informs Stephen exactly what to record in the logbook-‘1047 hours milkman arrives. ‘ Another quality of a good spy is being intelligent and very knowledgeable. This is evident in Keith’s behaviour as he says to Stephen that his mother is ‘a German spy. ‘ Both Stephen and Keith face danger of being found out by Mrs. Hayward when they are in the tunnel. The mood created by Frayn is sinister and dangerous when the boys realize ‘someone’s coming through the tunnel.

    ‘ The short and simple statement, ‘It’s her, I know’ by Stephen indicates that he knows that he is close to being discovered. This helps to convey the feeling of fear and danger which spies inevitably experience. In conclusion, the title ‘Spies’ is very appropriate as the main theme in this book is spying. As well as this, Frayn has created vivid characters that have the qualities of a good spy through his use of language and narrative techniques. Overall, Frayn has been very successful in combining mystery and suspense throughout the book.

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    Mystery and suspense throughout the book Essay. (2017, Nov 13). Retrieved from

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