LITERATURE IN THE ESL CLASSROOM
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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ever said that “hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it”. Inevitably, it is such an impressive quotation and I believe that it is best to describe the correlation between love and hatred in our everyday life. In fact, this relation is among one of the issues that is splendidly conveyed by Sue Townsend in one of her magnum opus, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾. The novel is written in a form of a diary with references to several distinctive holidays in England. It revolves around the life of a 13-year-old Adrian Mole who is struggling to cope with his surrounding as he undergoes his everyday life.
2.0 Adrian Mole – Overview
The character that we have chosen is Adrian Mole, who is indisputably the main character in the novel. In fact, the plot of the story is told in his perspective as a young adolescent British teenager who lives in a working-class community in an English town. The setting is presumably set in 1981 and 1982. The plot starts in the season of winter with Adrian writing his first entry in his diary on the first day of January. The last entry is written on the 3rd April of 1982, where the Falklands War began. Altogether, the diary spans a period of 15 months.
3.0 Characteristics of Adrian Mole
There are several notable characteristics of Adrian Mole which are worth discussing throughout the novel. For instance, it can be said that Adrian Mole is a stereotypically male in terms of his views about female roles. This can be seen in his diary entry on Friday, February 6th: “It is lousy having a working mother”. In this entry, he does not seem to take a very positive view of his mother’s desire to go out to work. Instead, he views his mother’s role as nothing but a person who does the cooking and the housework. He complains that her mother does not do her duty as a housewife for not taking care of the house “she is still not doing any tidying up” (pg 28) as well as for not doing the cooking “There has been a slice of bacon between the cooker and the fridge for three days to my knowledge” (pg 28). Thus, from this evidences, it can be said that even though Adrian Mole is only 13 years old, he has already displayed a strong tendency to stereotype women’s role as being the one who should do all the house chores.
Not only that, Adrian Mole can also be assumed as an analytical analyst. An example of his analytical behaviour can be found in his diary entry on the date September 14th, which is on Monday. In this entry, Adrian is criticizing the school dinners as “complete crap” by analytically providing his justification that the typical menu such as hamburger, baked beans chips and donuts are “not enough to build healthy bone and sinew” (pg 161). Besides, in the entry dated January 10th after the second New Year of the novel, Adrian criticizes his father by analytically comparing him with President Reagan. He gives an account of how his father looks “old” and “dead haggard” at the age of forty-one with no work or worries and that President Reagan “is always smiling and looking cheerful” despite his responsibility “to carry the world’s safety on his shoulders” at the age of seventy (pg 228). All these evidences prove that Adrian Mole, despite his young age and mind, is a very analytical young lad.
Apart from being analytical, Adrian Mole is also considered as a virtuous person nay moralist. This characteristic is very prevalent in his diary entry on Monday, August 31st where he reveals that “everyone is broke”. In this entry, Adrian’s father is unable to withdraw his money from his account since “the banks are closed”. Thus when his father resorts to Bert Baxter and borrows five pounds from him, Adrian lambastes his father’s integrity and further questions his morality because apparently by “asking an old age pensioner for money, it lacks dignity!” (pg 153).
At the age of 13, Adrian Mole also displays a typical characteristic of a young lad who is inquisitive. There are many evidences that really show this typical behaviour in him. For example, Adrian Mole is devilishly inquisitive when it comes to peer pressure. In his diary entry dated July 11th, Adrian is invited by Sean O’Leary to attend his birthday party. Initially, he expresses his concern that “people seem to get drunk just stepping over the O’Leary’s threshold” (pg 129). However, in the next entry, Adrian writes “first proper hangover. Aged fourteen years, five months and nine days” and this concludes that Adrian has succumbed to his curiosity by drinking alcohol in the party. In terms of sexual pleasure, Adrian Mole is also inquisitive about how it feels to have a rush of sexual feelings. He writes “Pandora has allowed me to touch her bust” (pg 131) and further comments this behaviour as an experience that is “nothing to tell about”. Next, he also tries to sniff glue out of curiosity long after being provoked by Barry Kent. The idea of sniffing glue suddenly pops in his mind when he begins to assemble his model aeroplane. However, when his nose is stuck to the plane and having it removed in Casualty, he describes the incident as “the most humiliating experience of my life” (pg 258).
Last but not least, Adrian Mole is also reticent at certain times. He is so reserved that he is unwilling to communicate his thoughts and feelings to other people. For instance, Adrian does not tell anyone when he is being blackmailed by Barry Kent. He is forced to give twenty-five pence to Barry Kent every day so that he will not be bullied. In despair, he relents to the demand. We find this incident very interesting because Adrian questions the existence of God “I don’t see how there can be God” (pg 45) for letting people like Barry Kent walk about other weak people, like him. This somehow shows his faith towards God. Interestingly enough, this problem can be solved if only he stood for himself, or at least by telling this problem to someone else at the first place. However, he only violates his reticence as soon as Barry Kent becomes too much for him to handle by telling his father about the blackmail.
4.0 Development of Adrian Mole
It is obvious that in the period of one year and three months, the character of Adrian Mole definitely shows some major developments, especially in social aspect, personal expectation, as well as emotional aspect.
It can be said that the primary source of Adrian Mole’s development is portrayed through the expansion of his social network. At the beginning of the story, Adrian is portrayed to have limited social network and that he only has Nigel as his best friend. However, towards the end of the novel, he has developed himself from being a lonely boy to a teenager with considerable number of social networks. His relationship with Bert Baxter is the perfect example to epitomize this evidence. When Adrian joins Good Samaritans, a school based community service group, he is allocated to take care of an old-age pensioner namely Bert Baxter. This is the important point where Adrian gets to know him for the first time. Initially, his first impression towards Bert Baxter is nasty but as the plot develops, his perception towards the old man also changes. Bert Baxter is very important in Adrian’s life because he represents the grandfather figure and acts as the substitute of Adrian’s belated grandfather who died long time ago. As the novel resolves to the end, it can be seen that Adrian Mole is becoming more appreciative towards Bert Baxter.
Adrian Mole has also developed when we scrutinize his personal expectations. Every year, he always comes up with New Year resolutions and hopes that he will manage to accomplish them. Interestingly enough, Adrian’s resolutions at the second New Year at the end of the novel are still as facile as the ones at the beginning of the novel. However those resolutions differ greatly in a sense that the second New Year resolutions are much more relevant to his life than the first one. He is more concerned with his education “I will study hard for my O levels, and get grade ‘A’s” and “I will learn a new word and use it every day” (pg 225). Even though most of the time Adrian will fail miserably in trying to achieve those resolutions, they are important as his guidance to live his life for the betterment.
Adrian Mole has also developed in terms of his emotional aspect. Throughout the expansion of the novel, we learn the fact that he is madly in love with Pandora that she is the one who drives him crazy. He always expresses his feelings and love towards her that he even dedicates a poem for her. However, his emotional attachment towards Pandora begins to fade at the end of the novel when he confesses that he has feelings for Barbara Boyer (pg 257). This evidence portrays Adrian’s development in term of his emotional aspect, although in the negative side, as he is growing into a man who longs to be desired by every woman. Nevertheless, when his secret affair is ultimately revealed by Nigel, he learns an important lesson in relationship and that it hurts him to know that because of lust, he is without love (pg 257).
5.0 The Survival of Adrian Mole
It is important to note that Adrian Mole manages to prevail despite all the ups and downs in his life. He lives in a surrounding where there are too much of problems and situations for him to handle. He always comes up with a way to handles his stress and his problems.
One of the ways that Adrian uses to cope with his problematic life is by being ignorant towards his surroundings. He is too self-centered in a sense that he does not really care of what is happening around him. The idea of his mother having an affair with their neighbour, Mr. Lucas, never occurs in his mind even after seeing a lot of suspicious actions and incidents between his mother and Mr. Lucas. Even if he wonders on the affectionate relationship between the two, he just lets the thought slip off his mind and never question them.
Apart from that, Adrian also uses his imagination to cope with his problems in life. For instance, this evidence is prevalent when he finds out that Nigel is dating Pandora. He expresses his frustration by hoping that Nigel will “fall off his bike and is squashed flat by a lorry” (pg 21). He also expresses his jealousy through his painting that literally illustrates Nigel drowning in the river which is praised by Ms Fossington-Gore (pg 23). Besides that, when Adrian discovers the truth about the romantic relationship between his mother and Mr Lucas, he does not show his disapproval literally. Instead, his disapproval manifests in a form of a dream in which he dreams about “stabbing Lucas with the toothpick on his penknife” and claims it as the best dream he has had for ages (pg 86).
Also, Adrian Mole tries to be sensible in coping with his life as well as his surroundings. For instance, when he receives a letter of rejection from BBC from publishing the poem he has sent beforehand, he does not feel disappointed at all. Instead, he is very proud of it that he “kept getting it out and reading it at school” (pg 36). He also uses his sensibility to cheer himself for not receiving any special valentine cards from someone else, excluding his mother, by telling himself that he is “the only person in the school to get a letter from the BBC”. Through the manipulation of his sensibility, Adrian Mole manages to cope with all his problems and disappointments successfully.
6.0 Significance of Adrian Mole
From our point of view, Adrian Mole represents the underdog community who are always treated inferiorly. This is evident in a sense that he is being bullied by Barry Kent. Even worse, he is also being blackmailed by Barry Kent to give him twenty-five pence every day. At first, Adrian feels helpless as he cannot do anything in his power to fight Barry Kent. His fear of Barry Kent has engendered him to succumb to the culprit’s demand.
Not only that, Adrian Mole is also significant in a sense that he represents the latchkey kid back in 1980s. The issue of ‘latchkey kid’ in the early eighties was a very hot issue as it was felt by the community that working mothers should not ‘neglect’ their children without supervision. Adrian also calls himself as a “latchkey kid” in his diary entry dated January 20th (pg 17) after knowing the fact that his mother is looking for a new job. He fears that if his mother begins to work, “he will be forced to eat crisps and sweets until his skin is ruined and his teeth fall out” (pg 17) as no one will be there to supervise his basic needs.
Last but not least, Adrian Mole is also significant in a way that he promotes the good habit of reading. By the age of 13, Adrian has been reading a lot of books and novels and he is portrayed as an avid reader and a bibliophile. From the literature novels to the academic references, he always finishes his reading. Among the novels that he reads are “Animal Farm” by George Orwell (pg 45), “The Mill on the Floss” by George Elliot (pg 93), and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (pg 126). He also reads newspapers such as “Guardian” (pg 45) as well as “News of the World” (pg 91) in order to update himself with current issues at that time. In one way or another, Adrian’s habit of an avid reader gives him a lot of knowledge. This can be proven in his entry dated October 2nd “I disagree with Sakharov’s analysis of the causes of the revivalism of Stalinism” (pg 174).
7.0 Personal Responses about Adrian Mole
The character of Adrian Mole is very relatable because personally, he is indeed relatable, especially to the younger generations whom are in the transition between childhood stage into teenage phase. Through his characteristics, we can see the world in the perspective of a young mind who is still searching for his true identity. We were in his position so we totally understood all the dilemmas that he is facing. From the insignificant details about squeezing his spots, to the portrayal of his hormonal changes, Adrian Mole is definitely relatable.
We also feel that Adrian Mole is an influential character as he inspires us not to treat life as serious as it seems. Adrian’s personality is really inspirational as he never falters despite all the negative surroundings that he has around him. He is such a quintessence of an independent young lad who consistently prevails through ups and downs. No matter how serious his problems are, he always knows how to handle them and through this, we learn to deal with our problems and learn the best out of them.
MR. MOLE (FATHER)
1. Relationship with Adrian: Father and son
- I can’t understand why my father looks so old at forty-one compared to President Reagan at seventy. (p.228)
ii) Heavy smoker and drinker
- He is supposed to be ill, but I noticed he is still smoking. (p.6)
- My father is smoking and drinking heavily. (p.108)
iii) Caring father
Unlike Mrs. Mole, he never left Adrian. When things get rough between him and his wife, he explains and talks to Adrian.
- …he said he was sorry about yesterday and the shouting, he said my mother and him are going through a bad patch. He asked me if I had anything to say (p.30)
- My father and me had a good talk last night. He asked me who I would prefer to live with, him or my mother. (p.77)
iv) A despairing man
Mr. Mole lacks of hope and efforts. When he and his wife are going through a bad patch, he doesn’t try hard enough to make all well until it’s too late. Mr. Lucas seduces his wife relentlessly; during Valentine’s Day, Mr Lucas makes Pauline felt cherished with a big card but Mr Mole resorts to a tiny card with a simple, boring message. He is also in despair when he loses his job and he doesn’t go all out to find a decent job. His wife even has to give him final words to make him search for a job.
- My mother has given my father an ultimatum: either he finds a job, or starts doing housework, or leaves. (p.234)
3. Important role in Adrian Mole’s life: Mr. Mole is important in Adrian Mole’s life as he is Adrian’s parent. He is also the character who constantly appears in Adrian Mole’s diary as he never left his side but he stays looking after Adrian after Adrian’s mother ran away with another man.
4. Contribution to Adrian’s development: After his wife left him for another man, Mr. Mole pleases his lust by going out with Doreen Slater although his love to his wife never changes. Adrian takes this lesson to use. At the latter part of the novel, Adrian is committing infidelity with two women. Although Adrian knows all along that he only truly lives Pandora, he is still going out with Barbara. However, despites his shortcoming, he is always there for Adrian. When Adrian is going through his ‘rebellious stage’ and wears red socks to school, Mr. Scruton tells him off but Mr. Mole supports Adrian.
MRS. PAULINE MOLE (MOTHER)
1. Relationship with Adrian: Mother and son
- …now I found out that it is really light brown (p.32)
- I felt like crossing ‘wonderful’ out and putting ‘wanton’ in its place (p.65)
- You can see her knickers through them. (p.28)
- Bimbo fulfils my sexual needs (p.144)
iii) Neglectful mother
She ran away with another man, leaving Adrian behind and when she did come back, it’s not because of Adrian.
- My mother has told me why she left creep Lucas and returned to my father. She didn’t mention me. (p.207)
She behaves in a most shocking manner. She has an argument with her mother-in-law, she destroys all her gifts, she is unhappy with her marriage, she runs away with her neighbour and leaves her son, she is dissatisfied with the way she is treated, she joins ‘assertive club’ and drives Adrian crazy with house chores and then she joins self-defence class so she can karate-chop her husband if he messes with her.
3. Important role in Adrian’s life: Mrs. Mole is part of Adrian Mole’s life as she is Adrian’s biological mother. She is part of the home Adrian lives in and Adrian loves her.
4. Contribution to Adrian’s development: She is the one who is responsible to Adrian’s early exposure to sexuality. Mrs Mole is not being discreet and careful with her reading materials that Adrian is able to have access to her books. ‘Female Eunuch’ is Adrian’s first exposure to sexually explicit materials. The rest is history. Mrs Mole also teaches Adrian about hatred and animosity. Before, Adrian was a naïve boy who didn’t understand adultery and affair that it took him a while to feel suspicious of his mother and Mr. Lucas however, Mrs Mole flagrant romance with Mr Lucas indirectly teaches him to hate that Adrian is happy to think Mr Lucas as a dead man.
5. Personal response: These two characters’ distinctive differences reek of opposite values practised by both. The father is willing to care for his son regardless hardships but I cannot attribute the same quality to the mother. Maybe this is what some people call as opposite attraction. When some couples might benefit from this opposite attraction; in this story however, conflicts arise from their differences. Mr Mole is not romantic nor is he passionate, thus the runaway wife. The home is devoid of the other parent which makes it harder for Adrian, especially with his thinking he has to share his mother with another man.
Pauline is portrayed in a very unfavourable way and I must say I hate her. It is very appalling to learn a mother would leave her child for her canal happiness. I should think that there is a better way to meet both responsibility and affection.
On the other hand, I am very much grateful that Adrian always has his father by his side. I think it is admirable to learn that a character with all his shortcomings to fuel male ego (still needs his mom to take care of him in his late forties, is disliked and left by his wife and poor) still has a heart to fulfil his utmost responsibility, raising a child.
1. Relationship with Adrian:
Pandora is Adrian Mole’s Girlfriend.
- ‘Pandora and I are in love! It is official!’ (p. 114).
i) Her hair is long and dark in colour. She has a good figure and her eyes are of the same colour with Adrian’s Dog. She is a quite popular girl in school.
- ‘Pandora has got hair the colour of treacle and it is long like girls’ hair should be.’
- ‘She has a quite a good figure.’
- ‘The dog has got the same colour eyes as Pandora.’ (p. 13)
- ‘Pandora got seventeen Valentine’s Day cards’ (p. 36)
When Adrian was ill, Pandora really cared about him and she would also visit him:
- ‘Pandora sits by my bed reading aloud to me’ (p. 120)
- ‘Migraine, too ill to write (Saturday) Pandora came round’ (p. 234)
- ‘Said goodbye to Pandora; she wept very touchingly….’ (p. 185)
- ‘She doesn’t want to marry me in two years’ time!. She wants to have a career instead!. She intended to go to university.’ (p. 193)
- ‘Pandora is organizing a sock protest!’ (p. 110)
- ‘All of us were wearing red socks. Pandora’s were lurex. She certainly got guts!’ (p. 112).
- ‘Pandora rallied us with shouts of encouragement’. (p. 112)
- ‘Pandora has got up a petition to protest about the toad-in-the-hole’ (p. 26).
3. Important role in Adrian’s life: Pandora is one of the most important
individual in Adrian’s life. She is the love of his life. She makes him feel alive despite of
all the chaos in his house. She is also his only Happiness.
- ‘I phoned Pandora up and told her that I loved her more than life itself’ (p. 218)
- ‘I rang Pandora; she is coming round after her viola lesson. Love is the only thing that keeps me sane…’ (p. 258)
- ‘Pandora is a tower of strength’ (p. 189)
4. Contribution to Adrian’s development: Pandora contributes a lot in Adrian Mole’s
development. I shall say that she has contributed to his development in a positive way.
Due to her rebellious and daring nature, she somehow influences him to be brave and
have faith on himself. At first, Adrian can be considered as a freak. However, after they
become lovers, we can see that Adrian is becoming a brave and popular boy.
- ‘Intellectuals like him and me often have bad moods. Ordinary people don’t understand us and say we are sulking, but we’re not (p. 20)
- ‘I only got one Valentine’s day card’ (p. 33) (from his mother)
- ‘Pandora, Nigel, Clair Nelson and myself have formed a radical group’ (p. 242)
- ‘It is really wonderful to know that Pandora and Elizabeth are both in love with me. Perhaps I am not so ugly after all’ (p. 250)
5. Personal response: Frankly, I do not really favour the character of Pandora in this
novel. This is because I could not find anything unique with her. However, I
acknowledge her spirit of wanting to pursue her education and become a career woman.
For me, she deserves to be saluted. Despite her foolish nature in choosing her partners
(boyfriends), she still holds strong to her vision; to be successful in the future. From my
vantage of point, her spirit in achieving her ambition should be taken as an example or
role model for teenagers nowadays as they also must set high aims in lives instead of just
get marry after high school.
1. Relationship with Adrian Mole: Adrian gets to know Bert Baxter through a Good Samaritan group that he joins at school. Looking after the old man is a task of the club that Adrian needs to fulfil. In the beginning, Adrian and Bert have many problems with each other, especially because Bert is not a nice old age pensioner as he drinks and smokes (p.. 20). However, later Adrian becomes fond of him and Bert relies on Adrian for all the necessities of his minimal existence, including Woodbine cigarettes. Bert plays an important role and adds much comic relief.
Name: Bertram ‘Bert’ Baxter (1892-1998).
Age: 89-year-old (an old age pensioner).
Status: After spending a short time in an old folk’s home he meets Queenie (an 80-year-old woman). They get married on 16th January at Pocklington Street Register Office and he moves into a bungalow with her.
Pet: Sabre, an alsatian dog (German shepherd).
Political Belief: Communism
- “He said he was made into a communist when he was there…” (p.. 58)
- “Bert remembered he was a communist and started saying anti-royalist things like ‘the idle rich’ and ‘parasites’,…” (p.. 137)
- “Found Bert’s teeth in Sabre’s kennel. Bert rinsed them under the tap and put them back in his mouth!” (p.. 95)
- “When we lifted the carpets we discovered that Bert had been walking about on a layer of dirt, old newspapers, hairpins, marbles and decomposed mice for years.” (p.. 154)
- “The bed sheets looked as though they were covered in blood, but Bert said that was caused by the beetroot sandwiches he always eats last thing at night.” (p.. 22)
- “He drinks and smokes…” (p.. 20)
- “…was lying in a filthy-looking bed smoking a cigarette,…” (p.. 22)
- “He has asked me to buy him twenty Woodbines and a box of matches.” (p.. 119)
- “…he can smoke as many Woodbines as he likes.” (p.. 127)
- “…the nurses are getting fed up with him because he won’t stay in bed or do anything he is told to do.” (p.. 122)
iv) Animal lover
- “Bert took his horse brushes with him and gave Blossom a good clean,…” (p.. 62)
- “It was very touching to see Bert and Sabre reunited… He said that Sabre is his only friend in the world!” (p.. 129)
- “He said his life was saved by a Bible he always carried in his breast pocket.” (p.. 31)
- “He said he was lonely and wanted to hear a human voice.” (p.. 27)
- “Bert told me that the social worker thought he ought to go into an old people’s home where he can be properly looked after. Bert doesn’t want to.” (p.. 63)
- “Bert Baxter has escaped the hospital.” (p.. 127)
- “Bert Baxter offered to lend us a paraffin heater.” (p.. 97)
- “Bert Baxter sent a card to the school because he doesn’t know where I live.” (p.. 72)
- “Had a ‘get well’ card from Bert and Sabre.” (p.. 188)
3. Important role in Adrian Mole’s life:
i) A friend:
Adrian has a best friend, Nigel. However, when Nigel starts going out with Pandora (p.. 21, p.. 23-painting a picture of a drowning boy), the only girl Adrian ever loved, Adrian felt betrayed. Therefore, he wants to find another friendship. It’s a wonder how Adrian be friend with someone who is so much older than him. He doesn’t even mind about the old man’s odour, even. Adrian dedicates a poem (p.. 168) about these matters and he thinks it’s a mystery to him.
ii) Fatherly figure / Parentage love:
Adrian doesn’t have a male model for his gender role development. After his parents split up, his mother leaves town with Mr. Lucas and Adrian stays with his father. However, his father is very depressed and loses his job. He must think that his father is responsible as his father is not doing anything to fix the situations. As a matter of fact, they live in dark as their electricity has been cut off. The old man most probably is the substitute of his father who abandons Adrian. In fact, when his father got him a track suit and a football for his birthday, Adrian mentions that “he is completely insensitive to my needs.” (p.. 72)
Furthermore, it can be seen clearly that Adrian doesn’t talk about his manly attraction with his father. Yet, Adrian shares the story about his first kiss (not French kiss, an English kiss) with Pandora, to Bert. The old man responses by asking whether Adrian has ‘had his leg over yet’ (a euphemism for intercourse). This is a discussion that a father should have with a grown-up son.
Adrian may also take Bert as a grandfather because his other grandfather (grandad Sungden) is not that close to him. Bert is portrayed quite obnoxious, and not a stereotypically ‘nice’ old man. However, Adrian doesn’t mind to care for him. This is the only way to really feel how to have a grandfather. Even his grandmother notices that an Adrian concern towards the old man is more to grandson-grandfather care. She said to Adrian, “didn’t understand why the Good Lord took my granddad and left scum like Baxter.” (p.. 48)
4. Contribution to Adrian’s development:
i) He finds a shoulder to cry on
Like most teenagers, Adrian doesn’t know where he belongs to, particularly when he comes from a dysfunctional family. Therefore he takes action to join the “Good Samaritans” club.
In the beginning, Adrian is ‘disgusting’ with Bert. He even refers to Bert as a ‘filthy commie’ (p.. 24). His first visit is really a nightmare for him and he doesn’t feel like taking care of him anymore. He mentions that: “I wanted to tell the headmaster all about horrible Bert Baxter…” (p.. 25)
Nevertheless later on he finds comfort in Bert and has learnt to be patience. Both of them have fragmented family life. Bert has not seen or spoken to his family for years and Adrian never has a quality time spent together with his own family. Adrian realises that they would understand each other better and therefore they need one another.
Furthermore, Adrian starts to learn about a real relationship. When Grandma says bad things about Bert, Adrian is the one who defence him by saying, “Baxter is not so bad when you get to know him.” (p.. 48) Even when Baxter falls sick, he feels so guilty that he said “I thought about how I had neglected Bert lately and I felt a real rat fink.” (p.. 115)
ii) From not quite sincere to sincere
Adrian is glad that the Good Samaritans day is on Monday. Therefore, he doesn’t have to attend his Maths class on Monday afternoons (p.. 16). He even missed his algebra test (p.. 27) because of giving help. Later on, his focused is more on taking care of the old man rather than feeling happy of skipping the Math class.
Personal response towards the character:
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. It is a proverb that means something that one person considers worthless may be considered valuable by someone else. In this story, Bert Baxter is someone believed to be useless in society. He is too old and incapable to do works. Even his family does not care about him. However, when Adrian finds him, he knows that this old man has something in common with him and he needs him for his emotional support, thinking about the dysfunctional family Adrian has got to live with.
1. Relationship with Adrian: Grandma Mole is Adrian’s grandmother from his father side.
- i. Caring
- ‘I rang my grandma and she came round in taxi and took me to her house and put me to bed’ (p. 53)
- ‘She has forced us to go to her house so I am there now sleeping in my dead granddad’s bed.. Grandma has written a Giro cheque for the electricity money’ (p. 99)
- ii. Religious
- ‘Grandma told me that she joined the spiritualist church’ (p. 34)
- ‘my grandma made us get up early and go to church with her’’ (p. 100)
- iii. Fierce
- ‘Helped Grandma in the weekend shopping. She was dead fierce in the grocer’s; she watched the scales like a hawk watching a fieldmouse.’ (p. 100)
- ‘It is all around the school that an old lady of seventy-six frightened Barry Kent and his dad into returning my menaces money’ (p. 103)
- iv. Protective
Grandma Mole is always there to protect Adrian regardless whatever situation he is in.
- ‘My grandma found out about the menacing. She listened to it all then she put her hat on, thinned her lips and went out…She was gone one our and seven minutes, she came in…. she said, ”He wont bother you again, Adrian, but if he does, let me know. (p. 103)
- ‘I have just had a bowl of barley and beef soup. It is my first proper nourishment for weeks’ (p. 53)
3. Important role in Adrian Mole’s life: Grandma Mole is so important in Adrian’s
Life. She is like a shelter for him. Whenever his parents fight, he would flee to his
grandma house. Grandma Mole is the only one who seems to pay much attention to
- ‘I rang my grandma and she came round in taxi and took me to her house and put me to bed’ and ‘I have just had a bowl of barley and beef soup. It is my first proper nourishment for weeks’ (p. 53).
4. Contribution to Adrian’s development: Based on our observation, there are not many contributions by grandma Mole in Adrian’s development. However, we can see that she contributes to his growth development especially in providing him nutritious food. Moreover, she also helps Adrian to free himself from Barry Kent the menace. This somehow has given Adrian inspiration that even his old grandma can stop the big bully. Since that day, Adrian has got his self-esteem.
- I have just had a bowl of barley and beef soup. It is my first proper nourishment for weeks’ (p. 53)
- ‘I bought her a box of diabetic chocolates from the chemist’s as a token of my esteem’ (p. 103).
5. Personal response: Like a shelter in the summer and rainy season, Grandma Mole will
always be there for her grandson, Adrian. Honestly, I like the character of Grandma Mole
because she is so funny, inspiring, and at the same time very protective towards Adrian. I
shall say the she is like a hero to him. She is always there when Adrian in a dire need of
attention. She even stopped Barry Kent from bullying Adrian in which his own father
could not help him to solve the matter. Grandma Mole really inspires me in the sense that
I should never underestimate the courage and power of an old lady. She may look frail,
but she is fierce as a lion.
The protagonist of the novel, Adrian Albert Mole, was born in 1967 and grew up with his parents in Leicestershire, a small town in the English Midlands. As in the novel ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 ¾ ‘, he is the only child of his parents.
Development of Adrian Mole
Winter (January 1st)
- Interpersonal: He admits that he has a very limited social circle which he attributes to his intellectuality as stated in page 92 “But I haven’t really got a friend any more, it must be because I’m an intellectual”.
- Sense of collectivity: He joins Good Samaritans, a school’s association which is concerned about welfare of the community (p. 16), he is assigned to take care of Bert Baxter, an old pensioner. He goes to disco and reacts uninterestingly to the surroundings as he sees himself as intellectual and not punk like what he sees others are which he strongly disapproves (p. 19). He does not want to go disco anymore.
- Resolution: He sets 8 resolutions that he wants to achieve for the New Year. This shows he thinks and plans ahead of what he wants to achieve in short-terms period.
- Reading: He reads voraciously and is able to develop responses on what he reads. He also takes stance on what he reads and criticizes the content; he feels that Jane Austin’s writing is old-fashioned (p.13) and he resents pigs as result of reading Animal farm( p. 38 & 45).
- Ambition: He aims to be a vet as result of reading Animal farm ( p. 38 & 45).
- Achievement: He receives a rejection letter from BBC in regard to the poems he had sent to them (p. 35). It indicates his capability to write poems and a good attempt to publish his works.
- He starts to develop crush on Pandora, a new girl who sits next to him in Geography class ( P. 13), however, there is no sign of developed relationship between them as Pandora is flirting with Nigel, a friend of his. It is indicated that he does not have anyone who is in relationship with him as he does not receive any Valentine card during Valentine Day (p.62). However, he kindles hope to be with Pandora when he finds out that she and Nigel have split up (p. 64). This gives him an opportunity to approach her especially when he brings some sugar for her horse, Blossom (p. 44).
Spring ( April 1st )
- Interpersonal: He goes to Youth Club, an outdoor club, with Nigel. He plays some sports activities and becomes enthusiastic in the club. Barry kent tried to get it but the Youth Leader, Rick Lemmon pushes him outside. This indicates that friends can help him from troubles and protect him from being bullied (p.81).
- Sense of collectivity: as a result of wearing red socks due to the rebellious feeling he has, Pandora organizes a sock protest, forms committee members and appoints Adrian as the principal speaker. They rally and move in group to school with shouts and songs (p. 110-112).
- Maturity: He wants to dismiss his childhood vestiges of his life. He paints his room black as he can no longer live with Noddy wallpaper. He feels it is indecent for him to be surrounded by such wallpapers at such age (p. 103).
- Academic achievement: he manages to get full marks for geography and his work is complimented as neat (p. 72-73).
- Reading: He continues his reading and is currently reading “Hard Times” by Charles Dickens, indicating the rough time he is facing as his parents quarrel (p.99).
- Ambition: He talks with his father about his ambition of being a vet. His father gives him some advices and he decides that he needs to rethink his future career prospect (p. 98). He later decides to be a poet (p. 104).
- He ascertains his relationship with Pandora as she has been spreading that both of them are in love.
Summer (July 1st)
- Intercultural awareness: he welcomes their new neighbor and tries to be friendly to them that irrespective of their origin and colours (p. 126).
- Ambition: He finally decides to be a writer as he mentioned in page 152 “I am determined to become a writer”.
- Reading: His reading starts to shift from fictional (Novels) to non-fictional ( Facts, opinions and ideas) as he reads “ Sex, The Facts” (p. 131) which is related to his sexual desire on Pandora. He also reads “Escape from Childhood” (p. 145) that indicates he is becoming more grown-up.
- Aesthetic: He goes to art gallery and uses the opportunity to observe and study what he sees (p. 149). He is also involved with a field trip to a museum which enables him to revere the beauty of heritage (p. 162).
- Leadership: He and Pandora are appointed as prefects and complimented for their leadership qualities by Mr Scruton (p. 158 & 165).
- Moral: He starts to lose his negative perception about Bert Baxter which is evident when he gives objective views on him. In fact, he starts to care about him when he and Pandora help to clean his house so he can move in (p. 153). He is also worried Bert has complication with his leg (167). He also disapproves the drunks he discovers during his stay in Scotland (p.149).
- They venture into a more passionate relationship as they start to try French kiss (p.128) and Pandora even allows Adrian to touch her busts (P. 131 & 143). He even declares that they are insanely in love at that moment (p. 152).
Autumn (October 1st)
- Sense of collectivity: He goes to ‘Off the Street” youth club (p. 178) and joins the hiking activity of the club with other members (p. 179).
- Health: His tonsil has to be removed ( 185) and that confines him on hospital bed for few days (187-190)
- Reading: He reads “Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual” and responds to it with disapproval as he relates it to his knowledge (p. 172). This shows his maturity in reading as he is developing critical thinking on what he reads. He also reads “Crime and Punishments” (p. 205) which he admits as the truest book he ever reads. He takes responsibility of what he has done and develops sense of guilt on stealing key ring. He also reads “Reader’s Digest” and tries to increase his word power (p.220).
- Achievement: As suggested by Pandora, he starts a literary magazine to be sold to the school which is entitled “The Voice of Youth” (p. 196). He is also involved with the school’s play “Close Encounter” in which he feels he has acted amazingly (p. 214).
- Maturity: He refuses to wear old night clothes in hospital as he believes he looks ridiculous in Peter Pan dressing gown and Winnie the Pooh pyjamas (p. 184). Pandora gives him bottles of after shave as a Christmas present which he sees as the end of childhood (p. 219).
- Moral: He goes to visit Bert (p. 173) which indicates his concern on him although he still harbours some negative perceptions on him. He calls the Samaritan and confesses his deed of stealing of key ring for Nigel’s Christmas present (p. 205).
- He phones Pandora and confesses to her that he loves her more than life itself (p. 218).
Winter ( January 1st)
- Sense of collectivity: Pandora, Nigel, Claire, Neilson and him form a radical group called ‘Pink Brigade’(p. 241). They are against war, uphold peace and believe ultimate destruction of capitalist society. He almost joins ‘Sunshine People” (p. 254) a religious group but his parents manage to dispel his desire.
- Resolution: He sets 10 resolutions (p.225) which increase as compared to 8 resolutions he set the previous year. His resolutions are more mature.
- Political stance: He perceives himself as committed radical as he is nearly against everything (P. 241) which he attributes to his teacher, Miss Elf, who he claims to have influenced his political beliefs.
- Reading: He starts to read “Macbeth” (p. 232), a literary masterpiece with higher level of difficulty. This shows his choice of reading materials become much focused on materials which require higher level of thinking and language skills. He also reads “The Black Prince” (p. 231).
- Academic performance: His academic performance is declining in geography (P. 244), history (P. 233), mathematics (P. 233) and spelling (p. 248). He admits that he cannot work under pressure (p. 232). However, Pandora deems that his English essay is his best work so far (p. 251).
- Moral: He exchanges some civilities with some people whom his father works with as he disapproves their idle behavior in works (p. 247). This shows his audacity to express his thoughts and feelings on others irrespective who they are. He is also offered to sniff glue by a friend but refuses to do so (p. 249). He later tries to sniff glue but has his nose stuck to a glued plane and has to be taken to hospital (p. 258) which he reckons as his humiliating experience. He is also happy that Bert Baxter is finally married to Queenie and he refuses to reveal his name to the media as he does not want his act of charity for Bert receives publicity.
- He is proud that two girls, Pandora and Elizabeth are in love with him (p. 250). He also meets a new girl, Barbara Boyer which points Pandora’s faults to him (p. 256), he later commits non-sexual adultery with her (p. 256) but she insists to end the affair as she cannot see Pandora suffers (p. 256). He learns an important lesson that “because of lust I am without love” (p. 256). He admits that he has betrayed Pandora but eventually manage to win her back (p. 257-258). He declares that “love is the only thing that keeps me [him] sane” (p. 258).
Adrian Mole is the most crucial character as he is the protagonist of the eponymous novel. The character dominates the plot of the novel which vividly reveals his characteristics as it progresses. The development of this character also significantly contributes to the development of the novel as it is entitled ‘ The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 3/4 ‘, the diary of the character.