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Cultural Context of ‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’ and ‘Sive’

Cultural Context (referred to as Social Setting at Ordinary Level) focuses on the society in which the story is set. We look for evidence of the beliefs and values held by the author and characters. The social, religious, political and economic structures of society are considered here. The different roles of men and women, the […]


‘How Many Miles’ table of contents

‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’ is written in a stream of consciousness format. The novel is presented as a series of memories that Alec has in the hours before his execution. Jennifer Johnston has not structured these memories into chapters as that is not the way we remember events from our lives – it would […]


Some quotes from ‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’

Here are some quotes from ‘How Many Miles’ that will be useful for your revision. They paint a bleak picture of life in the trenches and so can be used very well when answering a question on General Vision and Viewpoint. The imagery can be used when answering a question on Literary Genre. They are […]


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. Obstacles: The social class barrier proves to be […]



‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’

When you are making your notes on ‘How Many Miles’ here are some pages in the text for you to consult. Remember to include quotations from the text in the notes you make. When writing about Alec’s relationship with his parents: p. 3 – 8 (these pages deal with his isolation) p. 23 – 30 […]