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How Many Miles to Babylon ? By Jennifer Johnston . The Character of Alec Moore. First Impressions of Alec. Alec is a polite, honest and kind young man. His function is to be a shield between his parents. Lonely ' As a child I was alone '. Distant relationship with his father Frederick.

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How many miles to babylon by jennifer johnston
How Many Miles to Babylon ?By Jennifer Johnston

The Character of Alec Moore


First impressions of alec
First Impressions of Alec

Alec is a polite, honest and kind young man.

His function is to be a shield between his parents.

Lonely 'As a child I was alone'

Distant relationship with his father Frederick

Complicated relationship with his mother

  • 'I think she loved me but wanted for me something about which I had no comprehension '

Upper class ‘I missed the formalities of education’

Home schooled 'I was isolated by the surrounding children of my own age by the traditional barriers of class and education '

Only child - Alec Moore is the only child of a loveless family


Alec s childhood
Alec's childhood

Alec more is the only child of a loveless family. His parents resent each other which results in a situation where 'Their only meeting place was the child'

Alec is lonely and his possessive mother does not allow him to mix with other children of his own age 'I was isolated from the surrounding children of my own age by the traditional barriers of class and education '

Alec was unable to attend school due to the determination of his mother 'I missed the formalities of education' which tells us that he was home schooled . '


Alec and j erry s friendship
Alec and Jerry’s Friendship

Alec and Jerry first encounter was at the lake and when Alec confronted Jerry, it was tense, 'Don’t you know this is private property ' and 'I can have you prosecuted. '

Jerry ignored Alec’s threat and invited him in to swim with him. From this point, their friendship grew stronger and stronger and Alec had found himself 'a private and secret friend’ and discovers 'it was more fun swimming with someone else' despite their differences in upbringing and social class

Their friendship grows stronger throughout the novel. Alec and Jerry often speak about their differences in opinion and this further binds a strong and sincere friendship .


  • He allows her to dictate to him concerning his friendship with Jerry Crowe.

Alec’s relationship with Alicia

  • He is submissive and allows her to control his life, 'no more jerry no more Jeremiah end to that. '

He thinks she is a complicated individual, 'she had a contrived radiance which strangers took for reality.'


  • Alicia's decision to send Alec to war agitated and annoyed Frederick. We catch a glimpse of a stronger personality emerging as he says 'everything you have ever wanted Alicia everything ponder deeply before you take away my son' displaying deep affection for his son

Alec’s relationship with Frederick

  • Alec has a distant relationship with his father Frederick . There are times when their relationship had the potential to become strong but every time Alicia interfered .

  • Frederick has a deep love for his son but he is not a communicative person .


Alec’s thoughts on war

  • He is afraid that the war 'might dehumanise him 'afraid ...that I might … come to accept the gross obscenity.'

  • Alec is a peace loving individual and has no interest in going to war

  • He feels uncomfortable about 'having to go and shoot people for a cause I neither understand nor care about.'


ALEC’S PERSONALITY

  • When Alicia tells him Frederick is not his father, he 'attacks’ the fire '

  • He is a man of immense courage and capacity for real love and friendship. He sacrifices his own life to spare Jerry the terror and indignity of dying by the firing squad.

  • Feels like his whole life has been a lie 'I felt dispossessed in a sentence.'

  • Alec can be passionate and emotional despite his calm and placid manner.

  • His behaviour before death is astonishing in its bravery and acceptance.


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