I’m the King of the Castle

Helena Kingshaw Character Analysis

Helena Kingshaw is the mother of Charles Kingshaw. A middle-aged woman’s who has lost her husband, Helena moves to Warings in part to find work and in part with the hope of finding a wealthy husband in Joseph Hooper. In many ways, Helena is the most ambiguous character in the novel. Her son, Charles, regards her as a negligent parent because she barely pays attention to him and often seems to favor Edmund Hooper over her own son. It is often unclear if Helena is actually as negligent as Charles portrays her, or if this is only Charles’s impression of his mother, seen from his childish perspective. At times, however, Hill gives readers access to Helena’s inner thoughts; at these times, it often does appear that Helena neglects her child, prioritizing her own financial security over Charles’s happiness. More strongly than any of the other characters, Helena is conscious of and attracted to the Hoopers’ wealth and their family estate. She’s eager to marry a wealthy man who can support her (and her child), and she’s willing to overlook certain things in order to ensure that this happens.

Helena Kingshaw Quotes in I’m the King of the Castle

The I’m the King of the Castle quotes below are all either spoken by Helena Kingshaw or refer to Helena Kingshaw. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of I’m the King of the Castle published in 1977.
Chapter 4 Quotes

They were gratified with one another, and with this new arrangement of their lives, and so it was easy to say, 'How well the boys have settled down together! How nice to see them enjoying themselves! How good it is for them not to be alone!' For they talked at length about their children, knowing nothing of the truth.

Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

‘I want an aspirin. My head hurts again.'
'You shall have one, dear.' Mrs Helena Kingshaw jumped up. I shall not make a favourite of my own child, she thought, especially when all the blame for this lies with him.

Related Characters: Edmund Hooper (speaker), Helena Kingshaw (speaker)
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 16 Quotes

No, I don't know, nothing is really settled, Enid. I have not quite made up my mind about the future.’ For she was anxious that Mr Hooper should hear her, anxious for him to know that she retained her pride. If there were any decisions to be made, then, he should be the one . . .

Related Characters: Helena Kingshaw (speaker), Joseph Hooper
Page Number: 200
Explanation and Analysis:
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Now, Mr Hooper sat and thought about Mrs Helena Kingshaw, in this house, in the room upstairs, thought of the pleasure of her company, the pride and satisfaction it gave him to see how relieved she was to be here. And there was the way that she looked at him, he recognized something of his own need, there was something . . . He undressed. He thought with excitement that a physical marriage to Mrs Kingshaw would not be like what he had had with Ellen, for Mrs Kingshaw would answer to him, without the niceties and the restraints, she would bridge the gap between fantasy and life.

Page Number: 203-204
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 17 Quotes

For a second, he hesitated, part of his mind starting to come awake. And then he thought of everything, of what else would happen, he thought of the things Hooper had done and what he was going to do, of the new school and the wedding of his mother. He began to splash and stumble forwards, into the middle of the stream, where the water was deepest. When it had reached up to his thighs, he lay down slowly and put his face full into it and breathed in a long, careful breath.

Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 222
Explanation and Analysis:
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Helena Kingshaw Character Timeline in I’m the King of the Castle

The timeline below shows where the character Helena Kingshaw appears in I’m the King of the Castle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
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...play with. The friend, Charles Kingshaw, is eleven years old, just like Edmund. Charles’s mother, Helena Kingshaw, has come to Warings, supposedly, to serve as Joseph’s “informal housekeeper.” She is thirty-seven,... (full context)
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As Edmund prepares to meet Charles and Helena, he realizes that he remembers nothing about his own mother. He also decides, “nobody should... (full context)
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When Helena Kingshaw arrives at Warings with her son Charles, her first impression of Joseph is that... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...games that he has found. Joseph suggests that Charles and Edmund should play them together. Helena Kingshaw, who’s listening, exclaims, “What a good idea!” and Joseph feels “more than ever satisfied”... (full context)
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...The two boys begin to play draughts (a popular English board game). At one point, Helena Kingshaw walks into the room and cheerfully offers them milk, which the boys accept, saying... (full context)
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...Joseph feels “like a new man.” He plans to host cocktail parties. He also tells Helena Kingshaw, “You have given me new strength. I no longer feel so much alone.” Together,... (full context)
Chapter 5
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One day, Helena Kingshaw excitedly tells Charles that she’s going to London with Joseph for a day. Charles... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Joseph asks Helena to keep him company in the sitting room while he builds a fire. (full context)
Chapter 8
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...immediately regrets not hitting Edmund with the stick. Edmund, gloating, tells Charles that Charles’s mother, Helena, has come to Warings to marry Joseph. Charles begins to despise his mother. Then he... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Back at Warings, Edmund claims that Charles punched him and pushed him into the water. Helena Kingshaw believes Edmund and becomes very angry with Charles. Charles denies the story, but Helena... (full context)
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Helena sends Charles to his room as punishment, even as Charles continues to insist that he... (full context)
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...and Joseph Hooper now have the same “expression in their eyes.” A short while later, Helena comes into the room to “have a little talk” with Charles. She tells Charles that... (full context)
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Helena asks Charles why he ran off into the woods. He shrugs and wishes that she... (full context)
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Helena begins to say that she has something important to tell Charles. But then she thinks... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...Slowly, numbly, Charles gets up and walks back to the house. Inside, Edmund merrily tells Helena, “We were being bandits.” (full context)
Chapter 12
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Helena Kingshaw contemplates the trips she’s about to take with Joseph, Charles, and Edmund. Joseph will... (full context)
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In the car, Charles stares out the window. He, Edmund, Joseph, and Helena are driving to Leydell Castle. Joseph boasts about having packed guidebooks—he has become more confident... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...time seems to speed up: a “man in uniform” arrives, and Charles feels as if Helena and Joseph are ignoring him completely. Edmund is lifted into an ambulance. (full context)
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Charles goes back to Warings with Joseph and Helena. In the car, he remembers being eight years old at his former school. A prefect... (full context)
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Helena doesn’t speak to Charles in the car. Suddenly, Charles says, “I didn’t push him. I... (full context)
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Back at the house, Helena tells Charles that she’s going to the hospital and that Mrs. Boland will be taking... (full context)
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Night falls, and Helena and Joseph still haven’t come back from the hospital. Charles and Alice Boland watch television... (full context)
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Around midnight, Joseph and Helena drive home from the hospital. Joseph tells Helena that he couldn’t have “managed” without her.... (full context)
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...to go to his mother. Outside his bedroom, he begins to cry noisily. Joseph and Helena rush up the stairs toward him. They dry his tears and give him a hot... (full context)
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Helena and Joseph take Charles back to bed and wish him goodnight. He falls asleep, and... (full context)
Chapter 14
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A few days later, Helena tells Charles that she’ll be going back to the hospital. Mrs. Boland will take care... (full context)
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Helena suggests that Charles buy Edmund a “little present” with his pocket money. Charles refuses and... (full context)
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Helena tells herself that Charles is saying unpleasant things about Edmund because he’s shocked. She forces... (full context)
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In the hospital, Edmund, who has a broken leg, plays board games with Helena. He’s pleased that Helena comes to visit him every day, since it means she’d rather... (full context)
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...stay for dinner at the Fieldings’ house. Charles rides back to Warings, where he finds Helena. Helena tells him that Edmund is coming home tomorrow. (full context)
Chapter 15
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Edmund returns to Warings, where he must spend his time in bed. Helena tells Charles that he should spend time with Edmund, but Charles refuses. Helena tells herself... (full context)
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...him he could have died from the fall. He also brags about the gifts that Helena gave him during his time in the hospital. Charles is jealous. This surprises Charles, since... (full context)
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Charles tries to sneak out of the house to find Fielding, but Helena catches him. Charles claims he’s going to buy ice cream, and she sighs and tells... (full context)
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...when Edmund told him that Joseph would be paying for Charles’s school uniform. Charles remembers Helena telling him that she’s made great sacrifices to send him to school. So he knows... (full context)
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Back at Warings, Edmund tells Charles that he knows about Fielding—Helena told him. He adds, “Your mother tells me lots of things about you.” Charles begins... (full context)
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Downstairs, Helena shortens the hems on her clothes, thinking, “I am going to look younger.” (full context)
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...easier to deal with than his own son—there’s nothing strange about him. He thinks of Helena and remembers, “life had taught him not to make impetuous decisions.” (full context)
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...Joseph gave his model to Edmund. As Charles yells, Joseph strikes him on the cheek. Helena sends Charles upstairs to his room. The passage ends, “He did not look at her.” (full context)
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...the model across the room, breaking it. As Charles bends over the model, he hears Helena tell him, “I think that you should be very, very ashamed of yourself.” (full context)
Chapter 16
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Helena has been lonely ever since she’s gotten to Warings. But she hasn’t allowed herself to... (full context)
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One day, Helena gets a call from an old friend, Enid Tyson. As she talks with Enid, Helena... (full context)
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As Helena talks on the phone, she says, in order that Joseph will hear her, “I have... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Joseph listens to Helena telling her friend, “I have not quite made up my mind about the future.” He... (full context)
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...days later, Charles feels anxious. Joseph is driving Charles and Edmund away from Warings, and Helena assures them that they’re in for a “lovely treat.” Charles thinks that he already knows... (full context)
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...Charles that Joseph was going to be Charles’s stepfather, since he was going to marry Helena very soon. Charles told Edmund to go away. Edmund said that he didn’t want Helena... (full context)
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Joseph drives Helena and the boys out to a “muddy field.” Charles, sensing what the surprise will be,... (full context)
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...is just for the sake of the boys.” He notices the female acrobats, and touches Helena’s “silken knees.” Just then, Charles vomits. (full context)
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A few days later, Helena tells Charles that she’s spoken to Fielding’s mother and invited her son, whose full name... (full context)
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Joseph and Helena talk about their wedding—they plan to marry in September, just before Charles and Edmund go... (full context)
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A few days ago, Joseph and Helena were talking about what to do with the moth collection. Joseph suggested selling the collection,... (full context)
Chapter 17
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That morning, Helena wakes up, happy that her son is about to leave for school. Meanwhile, Charles arrives... (full context)
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Helena puts her arm around Edmund and tells him that everything is all right. Edmund smells... (full context)