Relationship between Alec and Alicia in ‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’

Alec finds his mother to be very cold and unemotional. He tells us that he always felt alone, even with his parents: ‘even with them, I was alone’ (p.6).

What evidence is there to show they did not have a good relationship?

  • At the very beginning of the novel Alec writes that he loves ‘no living person’. He will not write to his parents to inform them of the situation: ‘Time enough for others to do that when it is all over.’  He feels sympathy for how his father will react to the knowlege but he says that his ‘heart doesn’t bleed for her’.
  • P. 23-25: His mother forbids him from seeing Jerry.
  • P. 25: Alicia takes Alec away to Europe for four months in an attempt to make him forget Jerry. Alec does not want to go but she makes him. She is not thinking about what her son wants or needs. Instead she is thinking of herself.
  • P. 39-40: Alicia wants him to go to war. WHY? She wants to separate him from Frederick, with whom he has grown closer. She is jealous of this relationship. She wants to be able to tell people that she has an officer son in the war. She can no longer live as a family unit. Each reason shows what a selfish character Alicia is.
  • P. 46-47: She tells Alec that Frederick is not his real father. This is malicious and cruel.
  • P. 64: Alec is repelled even by the touch of his mother and he strongly tells us that he ‘hated her’.
  • P. 109: While at war, he writes a letter to his mother describing the table he is sitting at. This shows that he has no concern for her and that he has nothing of importance to tell her.