Alec and Jerry’s friendship

The beginning:

  • Friendship is a new and exciting experience for the lonely Alec – ‘looking back it all seems so idyllic’.
  • Up until the point he meets Jerry, Alec’s life is lonely, isolated and restricted.
  • Jerry and Alec bond by swimming together, horse-riding and through Queen Maeve.


  • The social class barrier proves to be an obstacle in the way of their friendship. Alec’s mother disapproves of the friendship and she takes him to Europe for four months in an attempt to make him forget about Jerry. However this does not have its desired effect.
  • The war: Major Glendinning is also opposed to their friendship on the basis of social class. (p. 131)
  • Bennett, Alec’s friend, is curious about the origins of their friendship. He asks ‘How so?’ when he hears of their friendship. This shows that it was quite unusual for different classes to mix.

Acts of friendship:

  • Jerry shows his concern for Alec when he rubs his sore feet. He helps him take his boots off and massages his feet. This is an intimate act which shows their closeness and trust for each other. (p.122)
  • Alec asks the Major if Jerry can leave the army temporarily in order to search for his missing father. The major has already shown a dislike for Alec and has warned him about being in any way connected to Jerry. Therefore this act is brave of Alec and shows how much he wants to help his friend.
  • When Jerry returns after the search for his father, he knows he is in trouble because he left without permission. Immediately he goes to Alec for help. He listens to Alec’s advice. He decides to trust Alec and stay to face his punishment. Alec says he will speak for Jerry; he will try to persuade the Major not to punish Jerry too harshly. (p. 143)
  • The final point that shows their true friendship is Alec’s act to end Jerry’s life. Alec doesn’t want his friend to die a humiliating and harrowing death in front of a firing squad. By killing Jerry himself he prevents this. He doesn’t think of himself or the conseqences; he simply thinks of is friend. Perhaps he thinks his life is meaningless without Jerry anyway? (p.154-155)

Many thanks to Miss Ryan for her help with these notes!

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