This sample essay on About A Boy Nick Hornby provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
To what extent do you sympathise with Marcus and the choices he has to make In About a Boy? Discuss the techniques the author has used and use examples from the text to support your answer. In the novel “About a Boy by Nick Hornby, the character of Marcus has to make numerous choices which affect his life in a variety of different ways. Marcus is 12 years old and because of this, he is often naive and hasty is his decisions but he makes them in order to protect himself.
These choices that he makes Include; setting up his mum, Fiona, with a relative stranger, Will, hiding out at Will’s flat every afternoon and lying to Ellie In order to become friends. All these decisions Marcus makes to protect him and while some of them may be made in haste, it is easy to sympathise with them and show his desperation to have people around him. Following Fiona’s attempted suicide, Marcus feels the need to look after his mother and also to have more people around the house, so he decides to set her up on a date.
Marcus is desperate to find someone else to Join their family and thinks that “If a girl and a boy met, and they didn’t have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, and they both looked alright, and they didn’t mind each other. en they might as well go out. ” (Page 84) This misguided train of thought leads Marcus to set up his mum with Will, a 36 year old who was trying to seduce with his mum’s best friend, in an attempt to expand his family and surround himself with a support network. Following their lunch, Marcus becomes excited at the prospect of having someone else in his family.
Would they move into Will’s place, he wondered, or buy somewhere new? ” (Page 86) In order to convey Marcus’ hopefulness and misunderstanding of the situation Nick Hornby uses the irony of saying “Will knew the Flona was not his type” straight after Marcus’ statement of anticipation. This is quite tragic for Marcus as, through his lack of experience, he does not realise that it takes more than conversation to start a relationship and the reader cannot help but cringe and feel compassionate towards him.
The Boy Marcus
To delay the feeling he gets when he is at home, Marcus decides to go to Will’s flat every day after school. The memory of seeing his mum lying motionless In their living room In a pool of her own vomit disturbs Marcus every time he goes home to his flat. “What he felt, all the time, every single day, was a horrible fear. ” (Page 101)
Nick Hornby is able to convey this fear by using quite emotive language and gives the reader a sense of what Marcus is feeling. “… he could no longer climb the stairs at home without looking at his feet and remembering… (Page 101) So, in order to avoid this haunting fear, Marcus decides to follow Will and go to his flat every day after school. “… the main reason he came round to Will’s after school was that he was to put off going back to the flat;” (Page 101 ) The setting of Will’s flat and Its emptiness Is used by Nick Hornby to contrast Marcus’ flat which is full of emotion and angst. The achelor lifestyle which Will lives leads to his flat being relatively free of sentiment or nostalgia, so the reader can tell that when Marcus is over there, he feels safe and distanced from all the emotion and memory of his own flat.
To have that memory of finding Fiona following her attempted suicide would be unbearable for Marcus and his decision to hide out there every day is completely understandable and the reader gets a real insight into what Marcus is feeling. Marcus has no real friends at school, so when he meets Ellie, he makes the conscious decision to lie to her and change who he is in order to befriend her. Ellie is a huge fan of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, but Marcus has never heard of them or any of their music, so he finds out as much as he can from Will and lies to her because she is the only person in school who he could talk to.
It was the longest conversation he’d had with anyone at school for weeks. “(Page 149) At the beginning of their friendship, Ellie makes fun of Marcus because she is acutely aware that he was lying about Kurt Cobain and Nick Hornby depicts this using constant sarcasm. Sarcasm is often difficult to pick up within text, but Nick Hornby is able to show by using Marcus’ literal mindedness to contrast Ellie’s sarcasm. But then he realised she was making one of those Jokes he never got. (Page 148)
Marcus is unable to detect Ellie’s sarcasm and believes that she is a genuine friend and does everything he can to fit in with her. “Ellie and her friend had said he was funny, and if he could be funny once, he could be funny again. ” (Page 150) Marcus’ decision to lie to Ellie and change who he is because he wants to make friends gives him a huge confidence boost and the reader is pleased to see him that way. Marcus is only 12 years old but already he has had to make numerous decisions that act to protect him against the threat of being alone.
The audience sympathises with Marcus when he decides to set up Fiona with Will in order to expand his immediate family, hide out at Will’s flat to avoid the memory of his mother’s attempted suicide and lies to Ellie in order to become friends. These are all ways that Marcus uses to have more people around him and turn his life from being miserable to Joyous. While not all of his choices worked out, Marcus becomes much happier and can lead the average life he desires. The reader feels that Marcus has grown from the awkward outcast kid who feels alone and miserable to a happy confident teenager who is surrounded by people who love him.