Spies

by

Michael Frayn

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Stephen’s childhood best friend who is responsible for declaring the “six simple words” (“My mother is a German spy”) that begin their mission of spying on Keith’s mother. The novel clearly illustrates Keith’s higher social status: he goes to the local preparatory school, has a separate playroom that stores all his toys, and rides a bike to school, in comparison to Stephen, who goes to public school, shares his room with his brother, and rides the bus to school. Although Stephen envies and respects his best friend, Keith is actually not everything Stephen makes him out to be. Keith can be controlling—he is always the leader for every project and adventure that the two undertake, and he insists that everything must go his way. From his family, especially his father, Keith inherits an air of haughtiness and a tendency to be manipulative and violent. As such, Keith does not get along with the other children in the Close, and Stephen is his sole friend.

Keith Hayward Quotes in Spies

The Spies quotes below are all either spoken by Keith Hayward or refer to Keith Hayward. 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:
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of Spies published in 2003.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Cycling's plainly the right way to go to school; the bus that Stephen catches each day at the cracked concrete bus stop on the main road is plainly the wrong way. Green's the right color for a bicycle, just as it’s the wrong one for a belt or a bus.

Related Characters: Stephen Wheatley (speaker), Keith Hayward
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Gratitude not only to Keith's mother but to Keith himself, to all the others after him whose adjutant and audience I was, and to everyone else who wrote and performed the drama of life in which I had a small, often frightening, but always absorbing part: Thank you for having me. Thank you, thank you.

Page Number: 31-32
Explanation and Analysis:

I think now that most probably Keith’s words came out of nowhere, that they were spontaneously created in the moment they were uttered. That they were a blind leap of pure fantasy. Or of pure intuition. Or, like so many things, of both.

Related Characters: Stephen Wheatley (speaker), Keith Hayward
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

I feel more strongly than ever the honor of my association with Keith. His family have taken on the heroic proportions of characters in a legend—noble father and traitorous mother playing out the never-ending conflict between good and evil, between light and dark.

Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

“Anyway,” I say, “my father’s a German spy, too.”…
“Well, he is," I say. “He has secret meetings with people who come to the house. They talk in a foreign language together. It's German. I've heard them.”

Related Characters: Stephen Wheatley (speaker), Stephen’s Father / Mr. Wheatley (speaker), Keith Hayward
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

Even before this there were a lot of things piling up that I couldn’t tell Keith about. Barbara Berrill’s visit. Her stupid stories about his mother and his aunt. Now I’ve been burdened with another secret that I have to keep from him. But how can we possibly proceed if I don't tell him this one?

Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

Not that I ever believed those stories for a moment. Or could have said anything about them to Keith even if I had. It would be telling tales. You can't tell tales.

Related Characters: Stephen Wheatley (speaker), Keith Hayward
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

We’ve come on a journey from the highest to the lowest—from the silver-framed heroes on the altars in the Haywards' house through the descending social gradations of the Close, from the Berrills and Geests to us, from us to the Pinchers, on down through the squalor of the Cottages and their wretched occupants, and then, reached even lower, to an old derelict taking refuge under a sheet of corrugated iron.

Related Characters: Stephen Wheatley (speaker), Keith Hayward, Uncle Peter / the Man
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

So far as I can piece it together, as the heir to Stephen’s thoughts, he neither thought she was nor didn’t think she was. Without Keith there to tell him what to think he’d stopped thinking about it all. Most of the time you don't go around thinking that things are so or not so, any more than you go around understanding or not understanding them. You take them for granted.

Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Spies LitChart as a printable PDF.
Spies PDF

Keith Hayward Character Timeline in Spies

The timeline below shows where the character Keith Hayward appears in Spies. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
...the word starts to bring up more memories and Stephen recalls specific visions: his friend Keith’s mother laughing, and then weeping; “A shower of sparks . . . A feeling of... (full context)
Chapter 2
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
...the younger Stephen waiting at the door, trying to tidy up his appearance. His friend Keith opens the door and Stephen enters. The Stephen of the present proclaims that this is... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
...art and furniture. He explains that he now can picture the color of his and Keith’s belts (which he previously remembered in monochrome). Keith’s belt was yellow and black, the colors... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
Stephen expresses how even then he knew how lucky he was to be Keith’s friend. He describes their relationship, in which Keith was the leader and Stephen his loyal... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
For example, Stephen states that it was Keith who discovered that the Trewinnick house was occupied by a secret, sinister organization called “the... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
...the Hayward house, deciding what to do. He explains that they could do the chore Keith’s father had instructed Keith to finish, which usually was to oil his special bicycle. Keith... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Alternately, the boys could play in Keith’s playroom, which was filled with expensive toys (and which Stephen painstakingly catalogues). Or they could... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
...viable options, Stephen states that going to his own house was never a possibility. Unlike Keith, Stephen shared a room with his brother Geoff. While Keith had a separate playroom, Stephen... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Stephen then describes Keith’s father, who spent most of his time working around the house and the garden. However,... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Keith’s father was a man of few words, except for the occasional “old boy” or “old... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
...into their home. They did not interact with anyone else in the neighborhood, except for Keith’s mother’s sister, Auntie Dee, who lived three doors down. Stephen describes Auntie Dee as being... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
...love to be a kind of inevitable obligation, and then he compares his family to Keith’s seemingly perfect family, noting that he was able to appreciate the Haywards because of his... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
...was embarrassed by these words that his father used. Stephen then recalls telling his father Keith’s theory about “the Juice” moving into the Trewinnick house. Stephen’s father looked thoughtfully at his... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
...was the “ordinary” thing to do. But he admits that he longed to be at Keith’s house. He especially loved being invited for tea and enjoying their chocolate spread and lemon... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Stephen then describes how he once went into Keith’s mother’s sitting room and thanked her for inviting him over; even as an adult, he... (full context)
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...be called “Braemar” and was destroyed by a German bomb. He notes that he and Keith spent a lot of time hiding in the hedges of Braemar, which had grown wild,... (full context)
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
...returns to the story he began earlier, which takes place at the tea table in Keith’s house. He recalls the sound of beads clinking against a glass jug—but then realizes that... (full context)
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
Stephen recounts a time when a policeman arrived at the Close to apparently arrest Keith’s mother. But Stephen then corrects himself again, and resituates the memory to an earlier time... (full context)
Chapter 3
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
...in the flashback, the young Stephen does not say anything at all in response to Keith’s claim, but just stands with his mouth slightly open. He thinks to himself that he... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
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...possibilities of engaging in spy-like activities. Then he feels a wave of jealousy because of Keith’s fortune in having parents who are interesting. The older Stephen states that his younger self... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
...would rather have Mrs. Sheldon or Mrs. Stott be a German spy. He even considers Keith’s father being a spy, but quickly changes his mind since he would be too afraid... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
 Stephen and Keith begin spying on Keith’s mother as she takes care of errands and household duties. They... (full context)
Secrecy Theme Icon
Stephen runs home for lunch, thinking about their plans to investigate the sitting room while Keith’s mother is resting in her bedroom. As Stephen gulps down his lunch, Stephen’s mother prods... (full context)
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...everyone is still having lunch, and Stephen thinks about how unfortunate it will be when Keith’s mother is exposed. When he hears Keith’s father whistling outside the house, Stephen knows that... (full context)
Secrecy Theme Icon
In the meantime, Keith discovers a diary in the back of the drawer. At first, it seems to contain... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
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Secrecy Theme Icon
Next Keith finds an exclamation point on a Saturday in February. As the two continue skimming, they... (full context)
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...in the house start chiming, the boys rush out of the room and run into Keith’s mother. She seems suspicious but also curious about what they’re doing. She tells them to... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Stephen and Keith go to their secret hiding spot in the privet shrubs at Braemar (Miss Durrant’s house)... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
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Stephen makes some suggestions of what to do next—like telling Keith’s father, or the police, or writing a letter to their neighbor Mr. McAfee, but Keith... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
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Keith holds out the bayonet/knife to Stephen, who places his hand on it, and Keith makes... (full context)
Chapter 4
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Stephen is daydreaming of spying on Keith’s mother when his teacher asks him a question and impatiently waits for him to answer.... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
...constantly fidgeting, eager to go back to the lookout, Stephen’s mother and Geoff —who mocks Keith’s wild imaginings—prevent him from going out, especially since it is a Friday night and Stephen’s... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...the equation 7x^2 = 63, but Stephen is distracted by the moon outside, thinking of Keith’s mother’s “x” marking the new moon for her own sinister purposes. Stephen then claims that... (full context)
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
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...to bedtime, Stephen finds a chance to escape to the lookout, where he runs into Keith’s mother. Both are startled. Assuming Stephen was headed towards her house and son, she sends... (full context)
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Stephen and Keith’s serious spying begins the following Saturday. Most of their watch consists of unfruitful observations; the... (full context)
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Stephen starts to feel bored and tired of listening to Keith order him around. Stephen playfully says that Stephen’s father, too, is a German spy, declaring... (full context)
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Stephen is just about to leave when they suddenly see Keith’s mother leaving the house to go to Auntie Dee’s. At that moment, Stephen begins to... (full context)
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Keith’s mother leaves Auntie Dee’s house to go shopping for her. Keith runs after his mother... (full context)
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
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In the following days, Stephen and Keith try to find the secret passageway taken by Keith’s mother, as they keep watch in... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
Back in the flashback, Stephen is at the lookout alone and tries to follow Keith’s mother to the Avenue, but the same thing happens again and he finds her at... (full context)
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One day, Barbara Berrill comes up to Stephen and Keith while they are in their lookout, and asks them what they are doing. She tries... (full context)
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As it is getting darker, the boys find Keith’s mother going to Auntie Dee’s house again and coming out to turn around the corner.... (full context)
Chapter 5
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
...land, where colonization had ceased at the start of the war. Each time Stephen and Keith ventured there, it was an ordeal “to test [their] coming manhood”—and the first ordeal was... (full context)
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Stephen states that the slime on Keith’s mother’s hands was from the tunnel. She does not go to the Avenue, but instead... (full context)
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Suddenly hearing footsteps approaching, the boys hide behind some undergrowth and see Keith’s mother, going through the hole in the fence and walking back towards the Close with... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...by the mystery of the “X”, and he dreams of both his own mother and Keith’s mother. The next day Stephen waits for Keith in the lookout, thinking about Keith’s mother... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Keith never shows up, and instead Stephen is visited by Barbara, who makes fun of the... (full context)
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Barbara keeps trying to talk to Stephen about Keith, and he keeps trying to ignore her. Then Stephen sees Keith’s mother walking empty-handed to... (full context)
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Barbara then suggests that they follow Keith’s mother.  Barbara speculates that she may be buying items from the black market. Stephen dismisses... (full context)
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Then Barbara wonders if Keith’s mother is taking a message to Auntie Dee’s boyfriend. She explains that Deirdre and Geoff... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...lookout, for listening to her silly chatter, and for having entertained a “momentary suspicion that [Keith’s mother is] not a German spy at all.” He sees Keith’s mother returning to Auntie... (full context)
Secrecy Theme Icon
The following day, Stephen is in the lookout alone when Keith’s mother, who is feeding the pigs, speaks to him from outside the bushes. She says... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
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Keith’s mother gives Stephen two chocolate biscuits and apologizes that Keith cannot play today. She comments... (full context)
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Keith’s mother tells Stephen that she’s glad that Keith has found a friend in him, since... (full context)
Chapter 6
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...the Close underneath the light of the full moon (noting that the new moon, when Keith’s mother’s “x” meeting will be, is thus not far away). He feels conflicted, since he... (full context)
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
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...tunnel at night to check the tin box and prove once and for all that Keith’s mother is a spy. He decides that this will be a “single heroic deed” that... (full context)
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...has told on him. Stephen’s parents scold and question him, making sure he hasn’t gotten Keith involved in this as well (and Stephen is again incredulous that people think he could... (full context)
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
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Time fast-forwards and Keith is examining the sock. Stephen has told him about the man but didn’t say that... (full context)
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Keith declares that they have to go check on the box, and though Stephen tries to... (full context)
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As Stephen starts to head back in shame, he hears footsteps—Keith’s mother is approaching. The two boys hide, with Stephen pressing his face to the ground... (full context)
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Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
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Stephen and Keith walk past the Cottages, where dogs bark and dirty children (who are “plainly laden with... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
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Secrecy Theme Icon
...old tramp had been living there the previous winter. The boys start throwing rocks, and Keith accidentally hits an old corrugated iron sheet, which sounds hollow. They investigate and discover that... (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
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Secrecy Theme Icon
...that the old tramp may have died from fear. At the Haywards’ house they find Keith’s father, dressed in his Home Guard uniform and waiting for Keith’s mother, who is not... (full context)
Chapter 7
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
...at that time. He mentions that he sat in the lookout alone for hours, since Keith had stopped coming out to play after their trip to the Barns. (full context)
Class Difference and Social Status Theme Icon
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
...that his younger self had probably been thinking that he had broken his promise to Keith’s mother and let her down. He decides that younger Stephen both did and did not... (full context)
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Secrecy Theme Icon
Back in the flashback, Stephen states that he stopped thinking, since he didn’t have Keith to decide what to think for him. He mentions that regardless of whether or not... (full context)
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Stephen finally gathers up the courage to knock on the Haywards’ door. Keith’s mother opens the door and invites Stephen in to play. He finds Keith quietly cleaning... (full context)
War, Paranoia, and Belonging Theme Icon
Keith states that he doesn’t know what happened to the thermos, and Keith’s father makes him... (full context)
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...do something to make things right. He knows the thermos is in the Barns (where Keith’s mother had taken it), and he decides to go back to retrieve it, hoping to... (full context)
Chapter 8
Secrecy Theme Icon
...that he is shut off from the well-ordered world of the Haywards forever. He sees Keith and Keith’s father outside the house once in a while, but never Keith’s mother. He... (full context)
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Stephen is in the lookout alone when Barbara joins him again. They see Keith going shopping for Auntie Dee—he now does it instead of his mother. Stephen feels guilty... (full context)
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Stephen and Barbara continue to watch the Haywards. Keith's mother lingers, contemplating the sky, and then pretends that her heel strap is broken and... (full context)
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...suspicious Trewinnick house—which the children think he’ll enter—and heads to the Haywards’ house. Stephen sees Keith coming home from school, but he is unable to say anything to him, and Keith... (full context)
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...the lookout with Barbara, feeling like a failure. Barbara tells him that it must be Keith’s mother’s boyfriend that caused the whirl of events. She says that her mother went out... (full context)
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...dirt, and Stephen feels dizzy to think that other strangers are coming into his and Keith’s secret hideout. Barbara plays with the cigarette and puts it in her mouth, and Stephen... (full context)
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...a match, and then leans over Stephen to examine the locked box that he and Keith keep in the lookout. She asks Stephen if he’ll open it, and he obediently gets... (full context)
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...Barbara keep smoking, lie down in the dirt, and “talk about things.” Barbara speculates about Keith’s mother’s boyfriend, and Stephen wants to tell her that Keith’s mother is a German spy,... (full context)
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...house) everywhere. The word “Lamorna” then becomes stuck in Stephen’s head, representing both Barbara and Keith’s mother for him, and some of the mystery of the word “bosom” and women in... (full context)
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Stephen then begins to piece together the puzzle: he thinks Keith’s mother isn’t a spy, but is instead taking care of “x,” a German airman who... (full context)
Chapter 9
Memory and the Self Theme Icon
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...memory unfold in front of him, as his younger self sits in the lookout with Keith’s mother. She seems even more “perfect” than she was before, because she has more make-up... (full context)
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Keith’s mother explains that the man (who she only refers to as “he”) does not have... (full context)
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Keith’s mother cries harder, and Stephen feels awful. Stephen thinks that he has turned Keith’s mother... (full context)
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Keith’s mother keeps speaking, mostly to herself, about how cruel life can be sometimes, and how... (full context)
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After Keith’s mother leaves, Barbara comes into the lookout, asking what Keith’s mother had said. Stephen tries... (full context)
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At that moment Keith’s father approaches the lookout and asks Stephen to have a word with him. Barbara hurriedly... (full context)
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In the garage, Keith’s father goes to his workbench and tells Stephen to stop playing silly games. Stephen notes... (full context)
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Keith’s mother suddenly comes into the garage and finds the two. She sees the basket, which... (full context)
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...the Barns, and hears the man coughing under the sheet of corrugated iron. Stephen imagines Keith’s mother coming here, leaving her world of “silver ornaments and silver chimes” and descending into... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...the voice: it was not foreign or tramp-like, but familiar. The man asks if “Bobs” (Keith’s mother’s nickname) had sent him, and this shocks Stephen because he had previously only heard... (full context)
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The man asks for Keith’s mother, but Stephen , who can mostly just shake or nod his head in response,... (full context)
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Stephen then tries to leave, but the man asks him to stay. He asks why Keith’s mother picked Stephen for this task, but Stephen can only shrug. The man comments on... (full context)
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...the very beginning.” The man then hands Stephen a piece of silk to give to Keith’s mother, and he tells Stephen to tell her, “forever.” Stephen takes the silk and runs... (full context)
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...with him all the next day, trying to figure out how to get it to Keith’s mother and tell her the word “forever.” In hopes of meeting her, after school Stephen... (full context)
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Stephen sees Auntie Dee and Milly leaving the Haywards’ house, with Milly crying loudly. Keith’s mother follows them, but when she reaches Auntie Dee’s house the door is shut. Keith’s... (full context)
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After dinner Stephen goes back to the lookout, and he finds Keith waiting for him, the bayonet in his hand. Stephen considers showing Keith the piece of... (full context)
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Stephen, ashamed, denies it again, but Keith smiles and pushes the bayonet against Stephen's throat. He keeps pushing it harder until it... (full context)
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Stephen again considers showing Keith the silk scarf in order to make everything better, but again he decides he cannot.... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...then describes what happened after that night. Life simply went on; he never played with Keith again. He finds out that Uncle Peter has gone missing and Auntie Dee has fallen... (full context)
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...reveals that he and his family were the “Juice” (the name of the “secret society” Keith at Trewinnick), which is why Friday nights were important for his family. Though Stephen himself... (full context)
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...the children at the Close and the effects of the war on the neighborhood: notably, Keith became a barrister (lawyer). Stephen finally reveals that the man at the Barns was Uncle... (full context)