I’m the King of the Castle

Joseph Hooper Character Analysis

Joseph Hooper is the father of Edmund Hooper: a middle-aged father who, by his own admission, is dull, talentless, and unremarkable in almost every way. Although Hooper is a relatively minor character in the book, he’s one of only three adult characters (the others are Alice Boland and Helena Kingshaw) whose private thoughts Hill reveals to readers. In comparison with his child, Edmund Hooper, Joseph seems surprisingly simple-minded in his thinking: he seems to have made peace with his own mediocrity rather than trying to better himself. Joseph’s motivations in the novel are simple: he wants to do a good job of raising his son, Edmund, but fails to recognize what a manipulative child he is and therefore fails to understand him. More importantly, though, Joseph wants a romantic companion after the premature death of his wife. Hill implies that this is the reason Joseph sends for a new housekeeper (Helena Kingshaw)—the event that sets the plot of the novel in motion.

Joseph Hooper Quotes in I’m the King of the Castle

The I’m the King of the Castle quotes below are all either spoken by Joseph Hooper or refer to Joseph Hooper. 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 2 Quotes

Perhaps I should strike him, Joseph Hooper thought, for speaking to me in that way, perhaps it is very foolish to let him get the upper hand, to allow such insolence. I do not like his supercilious expression. I should assert myself. But he knew that he would not. He deliberated too long, and then it could not be done.

Related Characters: Edmund Hooper, Joseph Hooper
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
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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 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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Joseph Hooper Character Timeline in I’m the King of the Castle

The timeline below shows where the character Joseph Hooper appears in I’m the King of the Castle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Childhood Theme Icon
A man named Joseph Hooper goes to visit his dying father and takes his young son, Edmund Hooper. The... (full context)
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After Edmund’s grandfather dies, Joseph moves into the house with Edmund. He tells Edmund that he won’t be able to... (full context)
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Joseph instructs Edmund never to go into the Red Room, explaining that there are lots of... (full context)
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Joseph thinks that Edmund is a lot like Ellen Hooper, Joseph’s wife, who died six years... (full context)
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The Hoopers’ house, which Joseph has now inherited from his father, is called Warings, and it was built by Edmund’s... (full context)
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Joseph’s ancestor, an ambitious man of the same name (we’ll call him Joseph Hooper Sr.), had... (full context)
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...house is tall and made of dark red bricks. It’s surrounded by yew trees, which Joseph Hooper Sr. selected because they were the longest-living trees. Inside, the house has lots of... (full context)
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Joseph grew up in Warings, and hated it. He’s now fifty-one years old, and he’s proud... (full context)
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...of moths and butterflies. The room is full of display cases containing the dead insects. Joseph has shown Edmund the collection before, but Joseph privately believes that he should be able... (full context)
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Joseph remembers his own father, Joseph Hooper Sr, taking him to the Red Room to see... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Joseph Hooper announces to Edmund that people are coming to Warings, meaning that Edmund may finally... (full context)
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When Helena Kingshaw arrives at Warings with her son Charles, her first impression of Joseph is that he’s been alone for too long. Joseph calls for Edmund. Edmund, who can... (full context)
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A few days later, Joseph notices that Edmund is sitting alone in his room. Joseph suggests that Edmund go play... (full context)
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Joseph orders Edmund to go play with Charles. Edmund stares at his father and thinks that... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...allowing Charles to use the toy, smiling sweetly. Charles looks at Edmund with hatred, but Joseph believes that the two boys are getting along well. (full context)
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...doesn’t tell anyone about it. Eventually, he shouts for help, and his mother, along with Joseph Hooper, let him out of the Red Room. Charles just says, “I got locked in,”... (full context)
Chapter 4
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One day, while Edmund is visiting London with Joseph, Charles finds “the room.” This room of the house is small and seems to serve... (full context)
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Meanwhile, on a train back from London, Joseph asks Edmund about his friendship with Charles. Edmund replies, “I can’t help it if he... (full context)
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On the train, Joseph muses that he should talk to Charles’s mother, and posits that Charles is shy. Edmund... (full context)
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Joseph suggests that Edmund take Charles on an “expedition” beyond the house. This makes Joseph think... (full context)
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One morning soon after, Joseph greets Charles and shows him some games that he has found. Joseph suggests that Charles... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Joseph feels “like a new man.” He plans to host cocktail parties. He also tells Helena... (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 recognizes that this is his chance. Helena is a little remorseful... (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)
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...to the edge of the wood, the sun has risen. He imagines his mother, and Joseph Hooper, who have probably just gotten up to leave for London. (full context)
Chapter 8
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...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 remembers that this is all his “father’s... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...his room as punishment, even as Charles continues to insist that he didn’t hurt Edmund. Joseph, who’s been sitting quietly in the room, suggests that Charles and Edmund play draughts, but... (full context)
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...walks upstairs. As he shuts his door, he can hear his mother’s voice, apologizing to Joseph and Edmund. (full context)
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...realizes how exhausted he is. He thinks about his mother and realizes that she and Joseph Hooper now have the same “expression in their eyes.” A short while later, Helena comes... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Charles sits at the breakfast table with his mother and Joseph. As he sits, he thinks, “He will have to be my father.” Suddenly, Joseph gives... (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 drive them all in his car. Joseph has told Helena... (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... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...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.... (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 together. The... (full context)
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...hasn’t been able to “figure him out,” but she suspects that he likes being around Joseph Hooper, since he doesn’t have a father of his own. (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”... (full context)
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...and decides 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... (full context)
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Helena and Joseph take Charles back to bed and wish him goodnight. He falls asleep, and when he... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...is saying unpleasant things about Edmund because he’s shocked. She forces herself not to worry. Joseph advises her to remain calm, and adds, “You should make time for yourself and for... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...he buys the ice cream, he remembers the previous night, when Edmund told him that Joseph would be paying for Charles’s school uniform. Charles remembers Helena telling him that she’s made... (full context)
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A short while later, Joseph takes Charles and Edmund by train into London to pick up school uniforms. As they... (full context)
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In London, Joseph points out the various sights, and Charles privately thinks that he doesn’t like being here... (full context)
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...at Warings, Edmund plays with the model fort that Charles built. Furious, Charles complains that Joseph gave his model to Edmund. As Charles yells, Joseph strikes him on the cheek. Helena... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...Warings. But she hasn’t allowed herself to acknowledge her loneliness; instead, she tells herself that Joseph has been “so very kind” to let her stay there. (full context)
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...village,” a world in which she was quite happy, and had nothing to do with Joseph Hooper. Joseph listens to Helena talk on the phone with Enid, and feels resentful: Helena’s... (full context)
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As Helena talks on the phone, she says, in order that Joseph will hear her, “I have not quite made up my mind about the future.” By... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Joseph listens to Helena telling her friend, “I have not quite made up my mind about... (full context)
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A few days later, Charles feels anxious. Joseph is driving Charles and Edmund away from Warings, and Helena assures them that they’re in... (full context)
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...earlier, Edmund announced that he knew something Charles didn’t know. Gleefully, he told Charles that Joseph was going to be Charles’s stepfather, since he was going to marry Helena very soon.... (full context)
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Joseph drives Helena and the boys out to a “muddy field.” Charles, sensing what the surprise... (full context)
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Charles can see that Joseph has driven them to a circus. They sit very close to the front of the... (full context)
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Joseph and Helena talk about their wedding—they plan to marry in September, just before Charles and... (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... (full context)