How Many Miles to Babylon ? By Jennifer Johnston The Character of Alec Moore
First Impressions of Alec Lonely 'As a child I was alone ' Home schooled 'I was isolated by the surrounding children of my own age by the traditional barriers of class and education ' Only child - Alec Moore is the only child of a loveless family Distant relationship with his father Frederick Complicated relationship with his mother 'I think she loved me but wanted for me something about which I had no comprehension ' Upper class ‘I missed the formalities of education’ Alec is a polite, honest and kind young man. His function is to be a shield between his parents.
Alec's childhood ● Alec more is the only child of a loveless family. His parents resent each other which results in a situation where 'Their only meeting place was the child' ● Alec is lonely and his possessive mother does not allow him to mix with other children of his own age 'I was isolated from the surrounding children of my own age by the traditional barriers of class and education ' ● Alec was unable to attend school due to the determination of his mother 'I missed the formalities of education' which tells us that he was home schooled. '
Alec and Jerry’s Friendship ● Alec and Jerry first encounter was at the lake and when Alec confronted Jerry, it was tense, 'Don’t you know this is private property ' and 'I can have you prosecuted. ' ● Jerry ignored Alec’s threat and invited him in to swim with him. From this point, their friendship grew stronger and stronger and Alec had found himself 'a private and secret friend’ and discovers 'it was more fun swimming with someone else' despite their differences in upbringing and social class ● Their friendship grows stronger throughout the novel. Alec and Jerry often speak about their differences in opinion and this further binds a strong and sincere friendship.
He is also unsure of her affection and love for him 'I think she loved me but wanted for me something about which I had no comprehension' He allows her to dictate to him concerning his friendship with Jerry Crowe. He is submissive and allows her to control his life, 'no more jerry no more Jeremiah end to that. ' He thinks she is a complicated individual, 'she had a contrived radiance which strangers took for reality.'
Alicia's decision to send Alec to war agitated and annoyed Frederick. We catch a glimpse of a stronger personality emerging as he says 'everything you have ever wanted Alicia everything ponder deeply before you take away my son' displaying deep affection for his son Alec has a distant relationship with his father Frederick. There are times when their relationship had the potential to become strong but every time Alicia interfered. Frederick has a deep love for his son but he is not a communicative person.
Alec is a peace loving individual and has no interest in going to war He feels uncomfortable about 'having to go and shoot people for a cause I neither understand nor care about.' He is afraid that the war 'might dehumanise him 'afraid...that I might … come to accept the gross obscenity. '
He is a man of immense courage and capacity for real love and friendship. He sacrifices his own life to spare Jerry the terror and indignity of dying by the firing squad. His behaviour before death is astonishing in its bravery and acceptance. Feels like his whole life has been a lie 'I felt dispossessed in a sentence.' When Alicia tells him Frederick is not his father, he 'attacks’ the fire ' Alec can be passionate and emotional despite his calm and placid manner.
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