How Many Miles to Babylon ?
By Jennifer Johnston
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
First Impressions of Alec
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 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 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 is also unsure of
her affection and
love for him 'I think
she loved me but
wanted for me
something about
which I had no
He allows her to dictate to him
concerning his friendship with Jerry
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
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 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 .
He is afraid that the
war 'might
dehumanise him
Alec is a peace
He feels uncomfortable
loving individual
about 'having to go and 'afraid ...that I might
and has no interest shoot people for a cause I … come to accept the
gross obscenity.'
in going to war
neither understand nor
care about.'
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.'
His behaviour before death is
astonishing in its bravery and
When Alicia tells him Frederick is
not his father, he 'attacks’ the fire
Alec can be passionate and
emotional despite his calm
and placid manner.

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