Power and Control

  • Alec and Alicia
  • Alicia and Fredrick
  • Alec and Major Glendinning
  • Jerry and his mother
  • Society

Alec and Alicia

  • Education: Alicia has clear power and control over Alec’s education. By preventing him from going to school he misses out on formal education and social education.
  1. Formal education:  The priest’s central focus is on Latin. Other subjects are just brushed over. Alec does not like Latin and often makes mistakes to annoy the priest. Alicia takes over his piano lessons but gives up because of his lack of ability. By not allowing Alec to go to school she prevents a structured formal education. Alicia’s power and control over Alec’s formal education prevents his educational development.
  2. Social education: By preventing Alec from going to school she impedes him mixing with his peers. As a result Alec does not know how to communicate with others in war and this helps develops Glendinning dislike for Alec. Having no social skills the knock on effect is that when he kills Jerry he knows he will go in front of the firing squad himself. As a result of Alicia’s control and power over his education in general she prevented Alec from developing as a person which resulted in his death.
  • Friendship: Alicia attempts power and control over Alec’s friendship with Jerry but fails in her endeavours.
  1. 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. At all points Alicia is unsuccessful as Alec and Jerry continue to remain friends. Alicia is so unsuccessful as she loses her son to Jerry.
  • War: Alicia has power and control over Alec by sending him to war. Alec does not want to go but she manipulates him by destroying his relationship with his father. Alicia tells Alec to ‘suppose he were not your father’ in relation to Fredrick. Alicia’s intention is to destroy his one link to the household as he has been developing a relationship with his father. Alec does not want to have to face this issue and as a result he goes to war. Alicia clearly shows here she has power and control over Alec through her manipulation.
  • Life: Alicia has power and control over Alec’s life – Schooling; Europe and war.

Alicia and Fredrick

  • Dominating: Alicia dominates the relationship completely. Refuses to allow Alec to go to school, removes the piano teacher, takes him to Europe, sends him to war. At all points Fredrick backs down from the arguments and refers to himself as a ‘coward’. Fredrick takes all insults thrown at him without reply.

Alec and Major Glendinning

  • Glendinning is a superior officer and Alec must obey orders but does not when it comes to Jerry. Alec disregards Glendinning when told not to talk with Jerry as he is of lower class( Told to stay away from Jerry, is watched by other officers and reported if seen with Jerry and the firing squad). Glendinning is unsuccessful at his attempts of power and control even when he decides to take Jerry’s life and put Alec in charge of the firing squad. Alec takes control and ends their lives on his terms.

Jerry and his mother:

  • This relationship mirrors that of Alec and Alicia. Jerry’s mother has control over sending Jerry to war for her own selfish reasons.


  • Class division: Society tries to keep lower and upper classes from mixing throughout
    the text. Persistent pressure from both classes to keep the division intact destroys those that desire change. The power and control that society exerts is too much for Alec and Jerry.

Point to back up:

–          Alicia’s attempts to prevent Alec and Jerry from being friends

–          Fredrick’s agreement with Alicia that Alec should not be friends with Jerry ‘It’s an unsuitable relationship’.

–          Lower class view given to us by Jerry ‘They wouldn’t let us be friends….’

–          Major Glendinning attempts to prevent Alec and Jerry from being friends.

–          Society wins in the end as both characters are destroyed by the world that tries to prevent them from being friends.




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