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Analyse des caractères et résumé de «A propos d'un garçon» de Nick Hornby (document en anglais)

Mémoires Gratuits : Analyse des caractères et résumé de «A propos d'un garçon» de Nick Hornby (document en anglais). Recherche parmi 274 000+ dissertations

Par   •  17 Décembre 2012  •  2 661 Mots (11 Pages)  •  26 742 Vues

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Character analysis

Marcus. He feels responsible for his mother's problems. He feels like he's the reason she's depressed, the reason she wants to kill herself, etc. Though she can dote on him at times, he feels inadequate, like if he were a better student or had more friends or hobbies, she'd be happy. He's also the man of the house since his father isn't in the picture and he has to somehow fulfill that role even though he is just a child. By befriending Will, he is trying to fill a couple voids in one. If he could get Will to date his mom, he feels like her problems would disappear. Someone would love her and she can stop worrying. Two, Will would take over as the man of the house and take over that role, giving Marcus freedom to be a kid. Thirdly, in Will, Marcus has a friend. Mentally, they are almost the same age. Marcus is a little more "grown up" than Will, because he's got a lot to deal with and there's constant pressure on him. They connect in that aspect, because they both have the brains of a 12-year-old.

Will is a freeloader, basically, who's never worked in his life. He's hedonistic, petty, childish, afraid of commitment, and a womanizer. Never in his life has he had problems to the extent of the ones Marcus is facing, so he doesn't know how to react to Marcus at first. He seems a bit astounded with all that Marcus has to deal with, and because he's never experienced those things, he doesn't know how to help this kid who's looking so desperately for his guideance. Will's automatic response is to turn Marcus away and alienate himself so that he can go on doing absolutely nothing


Nick Hornby, who is also known form the previous novel High Fidelity (1997), is back with more stunning points about how everyday people are living their lives. He was born in 1957 and studied at Cambridge and later on worked as a teacher before he published his first book Fever Pitch.

The story takes place in the north of London, where we encounter the two characters. The first character is Marcus who is a twelve-year-old boy who moved from Cambridge to London with his separated mother Fiona, who is an aging hippie who tries to apply her own ideals and manners on Marcus: “She could explain why listening to Joni Mitchell and Bob Marley (who happened to be her favourite two singers) was much better for him than listening to Snoop Doggy Dogg”. The other is the rake Will Freeman who lives alone and despises almost every deeply emotional contact with the world outside what seems to be his own glass shell. His life-philosophy is base on freedom and he sees love, children and marriage as threats to this ideal: “He had slept with a woman he didn’t know very well in the last three months.” He had spent more than twenty pounds on a jacket and he had taken Ecstasy”. Even though he has a lot of more or less superficial relationships through the story. He even invents a two-year-old boy to get inside a single parents group, with the intention of having sex with the single mothers. Through one of Wills relationships he gets in touch with Marcus, the very same day where Marcus’ mother tries to commit suicide as a result of a simmering depression. After this episode Marcus realizes that he’s in a vulnerable because he doesn’t have anyone around him if his mother had succeeded in killing herself. As a result of this statement Marcus tries to make Will date his mother, so that he would have some more people around him. Will has no interests in getting involved in other people’s lives: “Will knew that Fiona was not his type. For a start, she didn’t look the way he wanted women to look” but eventually he comes a round and agrees to help Marcus out. This is a turning point in Wills life because Marcus slowly and steadily gets Will out of his glass shell and into the real world.

The book itself doesn’t have any big complexes of problems or a certain predictable story line. It’s just as the title says About a Boy, and the reader is spectator to a group of normal people living there, normal lives. This might seem to be something the solid reader has been presented for many times before. And it is there’s nothing new or nothing special about the story itself, but what makes the book exciting are the often long and complicated philosophising about life the characters, especially Will, have. These episodes reveal Hornby as being more than just some commonplace writer writing his 2nd story about mundane things. He combines irony and life-philosophy in an exciting way, which makes the philosophical places in the book more exciting, that places like these uses to be.

The gallery of characters is a broad spectrum of human values and ideals, but at the same time these factors are balanced in a way so they make the book seem natural on the outside. Fiona and Will are complete contrasts and Marcus seems to be the one who has all the solutions without knowing it. This makes the book to one big melting pod where ideals and postures gets mixed up and comes out as Marcus becoming mature and Will as a person who learns something important about life, from which he can not hide in his apartment with his huge CD-collection and the reruns of Countdown. The balance between the ideals and personal postures are also shown in the narrative style Hornby uses, i.e. there the book is divided in a way so a chapter with Marcus as narrator is followed by a chapter where Will is the narrator. This is an exciting technique because it helps you get the idea that the story isn’t a black or white story. What seems obvious for Will might seem completely different when it’s put inside the head of a twelve-year-old boy. In the beginning there are two stories, but as story passes on slowly the two stories turns into one and the two perspectives ends up being a to different ways of describing the same story or the same persons.

Hornby not only succeeds in his description of a boy grooving up, but also the more hidden story about a man growing up seems to be quite persuasive. So the book could be recommended to everybody who likes a mundane story about life and all the trouble life seems to cause where everything just seems to be all right in the end. It could also be recommended to a more serious audience, who wants literature with a certain depth. Although it isn’t a big stunning ideological or philosophical work it seems to use everyday homespun philosophy as tool to the descriptions of what seems to be just a more or less normal boy or man’s life. With this book life-philosophy becomes something for common people. However this combination of life-philosophy and popular literature is not Hornby’s invention, but he still manage to show how strong it is as a tool


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