The way Frayn presents Mrs.Hayward suggests that there is a lot of mystery surrounding her; is she a spy? Why does she go to the tunnel? Presented as one of the main characters in the novel, she is shown as concerned parent, a secretive woman, a suspicious German spy, and an intrusive character. Frayn presents these views of Mrs.Hayward in a number of different ways, such as by the choice of language used, the situations she involves herself with, and the timing of her appearances in the novel. Frayn uses these techniques to allow the reader to gather the evidence and decide upon their own opinion of Mrs.Hayward.It is clear throughout the novel that despite her being one of the main characters, whom the whole story revolves around, she is either known at Keith’s mother or Mrs.
Hayward and her first name is never revealed. Keith’s mother is first introduced in chapter one, as a figment of the older Stephen’s imagination, “She must be in her nineties now. Or dead”, and is described to be “weeping” in front of the younger Stephen. Frayn decides to introduce her this way to show that back then she would have been an adult, and that she is a emotional character.
The way he changes tenses and reveals the “weeping” before her introduction shows the dramatic effect of being introduced into his past, making it seem as though a solemn tone must be used to describe Mrs. Hayward.In chapter 2, she is shown as she was fifty years ago; through the eyes of the young Stephen. Frayn decides to show how she acts towards Stephen, “she didn’t speak to him personally, but she’d address him and Keith collectively…” to show that she follows the order of class, or merely regards Stephen as unimportant. He also describes how “she spent a lot of the day with her feet up on the sofa”; a relaxed, unoccupied mother, but hen states how occupied she is, conveying her through the eyes of Stephen to show what others thought about her behaviour, “she posted letters, it sometimes seemed to Stephen, several times a day”.
This could be to hint that she it too occupied to fit her lifestyle, and there is something mysterious about her character. She is described, in comparison to Auntie Dee in this chapter, to produce a stereotypical image of a mother, “tall…unhurried and calm smiling…
back and forth all the time”Near the end of chapter two, Frayn produces a scene of confusion and uncertainty involving blurry events from the past (from Stephen as an old man) involving a policeman, “coming to arrest Keith’s mother…she looks ill and frightened…running down the street..
.I see that look cross Keith mother’s face…
I see something else beside the fear”. Frayn delivers these lines as if to reflect the state of confusion Keith’s mother will face in the novel, as if to show she will do something to make this happen, as if it is unexpected. The end words, “‘My mother’, he said reflectively, almost regretfully, ‘is a German spy'” from Keith, adds a tone of suspicion towards Mrs. Hayward, and provides an explanation as to why the events occurred. Frayn decides to include the words here and form Keith to show the simple gesture offered my Keith to reveals this about his mother, as if he regrets it, or wants to investigate into it.Chapter three focuses on the ‘German spy’ aspect of Mrs. Hayward.
The boys look through her diary, and aspects of her life are revealed that way. Frayn uses this technique to show the background of her life and what she will do in the future, to expand on her ‘secrecy’. Frayn uses the idea of Keith’s mother deceiving her own family because she has deceived her country, through the image of her and Auntie Dee as young girls, where Stephen notes “there’s something almost improper about the sight of them like this…something quite upsetting about Auntie Dee’s innocent ignorance of what her older sister will one day become”. Keith ; Stephen discover little crosses marked in the diary every four weeks and occasional exclamation marks.They conclude that these marks are dates of meetings with a German.
Frayn conveys these marks to the reader through the eyes of two little boys, “she has meetings with someone…secret meetings”, offering a subtle clue to lead the reader to interpret the signs as a record of her menstrual cycle and the occasional sex with her husband, showing that she is a conspicuous woman, and that her relationship with Keith is motherly in a way of feeding, and checking up on him, but she has secrets form him, and that her relationship with her husband is okay. When Mrs Hayward comes unexpectedly into the room, the boys deny doing anything wrong, and Stephen observes, “It’s difficult to know what sort of look would be appropriate for talking to someone who we know has just had a secret rendezvous with a German courier. And when we mustn’t let her know that we know.” This shows that she is easily misinterpreted. We also find out that she is quite aware of the boys odd behavior and may start to expect something, showing that she is on the lookout, as if she has something to hide, “his mother’s still watching us thoughtfully form the sitting-room doorway, almost as curious about our behavior as we are about hers”.
Chapter four reveals that Mrs. Hayward is unexpectedly pre-occupied, or involved in something serious, and Frayn shows this by Mrs. Hayward addressing Stephen the next time they see each other, which is very out of the ordinary. Stephen senses he senses sadness in her that he has not noticed before, and realises that life in the Hayward’s’ house is not what it seems, “…
there must be even more unanswered questions hanging in the air at the Hayward’s’ house than there are at ours.” Throughout the chapter, Mrs. Hayward constantly disappears and appears more often than usual, hinting that something is wrong with her ‘secret meetings’. At the end of the chapter Mrs Hayward reappears looking quite distressed, and is harsh with Keith, “You know the rules. You know when you’re supposed to be in. If you behave like a child then Daddy’s going to treat you like a child.’ Frayn uses this to develop her character analysis, to show that she can be harsh to her own child when she is distressed.In chapter five, Mrs.
Hayward’s character is further investigated when she visits Stephen in the den, noting that she has to speak to Stephen when she realises they are spying on her that she has to. Mrs Hayward is polite and formal, asking permission to enter the den, “Stephen…may I come in?” Frayn shows that she put in to enter by highlighting Stephen’s embarrassment of her entering, ‘I know she has to make an awkward spectacle of herself.’ This shows that even though she tries to remain polite and dignified, Frayn clearly shows that the visit is difficult and uncomfortable for her. Mrs Hayward also remarks on the spelling of the ‘PRIVET’ sign. Recognizing Keith’s handwriting, she sees the funny side and identifies the “priceless” nature of the joke.
Frayn adds in this ‘humour’ on Mrs. Hayward’s part to show that even in her stressful times, she can be light-hearted when it comes to being polite (to Stephen).The purpose of the visit is to warn Stephen not to follow her, or spy on her anymore, and hints that what she is doing is private, “Sometimes people have things they want to do in private.” Frayn conveys, to the reader, however that as she tries to put a stop to the boys’ spying, it is likely to encourage them further, as it suggest that there really is something to hide. Also in chapter five, Stephen wonders over the relationship between Mrs. Hayward and Auntie Dee, and how Keith’s mother appears so caring of her younger sister, doing her shopping and visiting her so regularly, “What are those two sisters talking about so earnestly there on the doorstep? They’re telling each other the kind of things that Deirdre and Barbara tell each other. Secrets..
.About kisses in the blackout…
.” Frayn allows Stephen to suggest these things to make the reader ponder on them too; why does Mrs. Hayward go visit Auntie Dee so regularly? What secrets?In conclusion, we can assuredly say that Frayn presents Mrs. Hayward as a complex character. Her nature is exposed by how Stephen sees her before and after her being a ‘German spy’ and how he portrays her. At first she is conveyed as a soft, smiling woman who did not seem to have a great deal of actual work to do and spent a lot of her time reading library books, resting, or writing letters.
Her life is kept quite private, and her relationship with Mr. Hayward may have led her to this, and to take refuge in keeping to herself and reading books. Her activities only involved going to the post box or down the road to visit Auntie Dee. Frayn then contrasts this image, by Stephen noting how ‘sad and stressful’ she has become, and how her first reaction to the boys following her is one of quite amusement until she realises how much they are uncovering. She shows her desperation by hinting to Stephen that they should stop, by going out of her way in the boys’ hideout, taking a bribe of chocolate biscuits with her.
Stephen also compares her to his own mother in the novel, showing Keith’s mother in a more glamorous light and overall appearance over his own, which adds to the air of mystery when Keith reveals she’s a German spy.Frayn uses, as he does mostly throughout the book, Stephen to convey characters and events going on, and so uses Stephen to convey Mrs. Hayward to the reader. She is seen in two different lights; before she’s a ‘German spy’ and after she is said to be a ‘German spy’. Frayn uses this technique to show the contrast in her character; the light-hearted soft smiling Mrs.
Hayward, and the serious, sad Keith’s mother. The fact that he presents in her two different manners is quite intriguing, and it could be to show that there is actually something going on in Mrs. Hayward’s life that has been unnoticed so far, or it could be because Frayn likes to show contrast in characters to make the novel move along.