How does Faulks tell the story on pages 63-78 in Birdsong?
In the middle of part 1, Faulks tells the story of Stephen’s and Isabelle’s second romantic encounter which takes place in the Azaire household. The chapter opens in the living room where the family are discussing what they have done during the day . The conversation is mundane and dull about shopping and household matters and Azaire is disinterested and pays little attention to his wife. Isabelle is tense and worried about how she will react when Stephen arrives.
When Stephen joins the family he is controlled and reserved and he doesn’t address Isabelle which makes her think that he regrets what happened or he had “done what he came to do and now the matter was finished for him”. Later on in the evening, Isabelle excuses herself from the gathering saying she doesn’t feel well and this is the beginning of hers and Stephens romantic encounter.Faulks tells the story through a 3rd person narrative instead of 1st as it lets the reader get a glimpse of each of the characters’ opinions and feelings towards each other or the current situation. It also helps us get an idea of the characters and how different they are on the inside from how they appear on the outside.
For example, Isabelle comes across as being very cautious, proper and reserved, but inside she is full of passion and roaring emotion. By putting it in 3rd person, the reader can see this interesting contrast in personality. It also shows us that when they aren’t alone, Stephen and Isabelle are thinking about each other in the same way.Faulks tells the story by using a lot of imagery and symbolism. The Red room is where Stephen and Isabelle go to make love. The colour red plays a big part in the book as it symbolises passion and love.
In contrast to this, the colour also symbolizes danger and blood, which are both war related words. To relate back to Isabelle’s changing personality, she always wears a plain, cream dress which symbolizes her simpleness and innocence, but her burning passion and emotions are showed to us by her red underskirt she always wears.The red room is symbolic in the sense that it represents a secret and private place where they can be together. Stephen says “I was convinced when I came down the stairs that I wouldn’t be able to find this room again.
I thought it wouldn’t be here”. After their first encounter he’s searching for Isabelle in the house to relive their previous experience and to see if it was real and actually happened. Isabelle replies to this by saying “It won’t move. Its always here”.
Faulks gives the idea that she isn’t referring to the room, but that she’s referring to herself always being there for him and him always having her heart.The various settings in the chapter are all very important factors in understanding towards Stephen and Isabelles relationship. The first scene in the Azaires’ living room is important. The Azaires house is very grand and hidden behind iron railings.
Inside, the house is very empty and there isn’t much furniture. The description of the house symbolizes the Azaires family relationship, it looks big and strong to the public eye but behind the railings, there’s nothing inside but emptiness. The scene then changes to Stephen being in an old cathedral in the town. The importance of Stephen going to the cathedral is that his relationship with Isabelle is going against good.
Also, Stephen has a cold attitude towards emotions and feeling, which brings the description of the cathedral forwards. “He was standing at the back of the cold cathedral where it was quiet enough to think”. This suggests the idea that Stephen likes to stay in the background when feelings and religion come into the situation.We then meet Stephen and Isabelle in the small study in the house. The study is a more public place in the house to rendezvous.
They are beginning to take more risks with their relationship and the intensity between them grows everyday. The last scene in the chapter is back in the red room where they make love once again. Faulks gives a very graphical and detailed description of the event to show how important the physical side of a relationship is, which Isabelle never had with Azaire. This explains the difference in Isabelles relationship with Stephen, to hers with Azaire.
Finally, Faulks uses the dialogue to tell his story. Isabelle is worried when Stephen enters the room as he doesn’t address her, which makes her think that he regrets what they did or that he came what he came to do and now its finished. When Stephen talks to Gregoiré about his childhood we get the idea that he is using that opportunity to speak indirectly to Isabelle and to tell her details about his life whilst actually addressing someone else. He is taking the opportunity to communicate to her but without any dialogue between them.
. It seems like he’s telling Isabelle all of these personal details instead of Azaire. Azaire doesn’t seem to be the type of person who would be interested in feelings and emotions as he communicates on a different level about more trivial things. Stephens’s stories are for Isabelles benefit so she can fully understand him.
There is a lot of non-verbal communication between Stephen and Isabelle as they watch each other during the evening and recall privately what has gone on earlier. Isabelle is embarrassed by her recollections of their lovemaking and becomes uncomfortable by Stephens gaze, which seems to be saying things to her without any words passing between them.There is a big contrast between her relationship with her husband and with Stephen. The way she communicates with her husband is matter of fact and they talk about trivia but when she is with Stephen they talk about their emotions and their lovemaking in an open way, which surprises them. When she is with her husband she is restrained, cold and unresponsive and she is startled by her behavior with Stephen and by her emotion and feelings.