Alicia and Alec
- Alicia and Alec do not have a relationship within this text. Alec is more of a commodity for Alicia than anything else. She tries her best to use him for her own selfish means and to help develop her standing within her society.
- Alec has been home schooled for his entire education. Alicia leads Alec to believe that it is because of his poor health. We learn this is not the case when Fredrick suggests it is time for Alec to go to school. Alicia clearly states that Alec cannot go to school because she will not remain in the house alone with Fredrick. Alec’s isolation here is a result of Alicia’s selfishness.
- Alicia frowns on Alec’s relationship with Jerry. She does not approve because Jerry is from a lower class standing, referring to him as ‘that boy’. While this relationship clearly makes Alec happy Alicia will not have it as it may reduce her social standing within her society to have her family mixing with the lower classes.
- Alicia makes numerous attempts to stop Alec from seeing Jerry. She forbids him from spending time with Jerry, takes him to Europe to put distance between them and tries to sully Jerry’s character by calling him a criminal after the horse racing. All of this is because she does not want Alec’s actions to affect her social standing.
- Alec himself clearly does not have any love for his mother. He only makes reference once to the fact that he had any feelings towards her on one occasion. Following that he states, after his father is humiliated by Alicia, ‘I hated her’. Alec even wonders if he could love a person as much as he loves his house.
- Alicia sends Alec to war even though Alec and Fredrick do not want this. Alicia wants this as she believes Alec being an officer will bring them a better social status. The idea is formed after she hears that another boy from a good social standing has died in the war. She believes the boy brought honour to his family. Knowing the dangers she still insists that he go and even suggest to Alec that Fredrick is not his father hoping Alec will leave as he will have nothing holding him to home. Clearly these are not the actions of a loving mother.
- When Alec decides to go he refers to his mothers eyes as ‘triumphant blue’, however the servants in the estate cry on Alec’s leaving. We see here that Alec had more of a relationship with the servants than he did with his mother. The servants are horrified at his leaving and his mother is excited.
- While at war Alec rarely replies to his mother’s letters and when he does his letters seem intended to annoy her as pointed out by Fredrick.
Alec’s actions at the end of the text also in some part seem to be for his mother as well as himself and Jerry. Alec will be killed by firing squad for his actions and this will mean that his time within the army will go on record as dishonourable rather than honourable. This is his final insult to his mother.