The Ending of I’m the King of the Castle

Would Kingshaw really have done this? Is it in character? Yes. Why?

Give examples:

  • Kingshaw is over-sensitive
  • Hyper imaginative (the crows and the tractor)
  • Doesn’t communicate with either adult or Hooper. Talks to Fielding but is unable to put resolution into practice


What factors have led up to this?

  • Verbal bullying
  • Psychological
  • H locks k in Red Room and shed
  • Spies on K
  • Knows things about K (his knowledge seems uncanny but is rally only observant and knowledgeable about human nature.) gives Hooper power over him.
  • Pecks away at K’s vulnerable spots – fatherless; weak mother; no home; poor; sensitive; linguistically retarded .


How could we have known it would end like this?

  • 3 premonitions – water images
  • K’s own weakness of character
  • Something had to happen. Hooper has unhinged Kingshaw.
  • P 197 ‘he knew quite suddenly what to do. It was because the morning reminded him of the time before.


Did he plan it earlier?

  • No, despite the omens and his feelings towards the wood and the water, it is actually an on the spot decision.


Was there an alternative ending?

  • Kingshaw murders Hooper? possible though only as a spontaneous action, the thought would alarm him too much if he had time to think about it.
  • Kingshaw finally speaks out? Unlikely for even if he did no-one would ever believe him, the adults have too much invested in ignoring it. He is of course the type who cannot communicate this is his major weakness and cause of his ultimate action.


What opportunities has Kingshaw had for murdering Hooper?

  • Stairs
  • Hang wood twice
  • Castle

These three temptations enable the reader to draw the parallel between him and Jesus who rejected the temptation to use violence to save himself


How does the author shock us? Convince us? Affect us? In chapter 17

  • Frenetic activity with everything rushing to a climax, events going too fast for Kingshaw.
  • Weather – after the long, hot, sticky, summer, the rain and a high wind. But on the final day the similarity in the weather is noted by Kingshaw, ‘the only difference today was that there was no mist…’
  • The waiting game the two had played while Kingshaw waited for Hooper’s response to his destroyed battle plans he began to get even more paranoid, even more worked up, p 220 ‘It would happen, something.’
  • K was numbed.
  • Hooper’s second note, p 220 confirms the fear, the few paragraphs before this have been comprised of short terse sentences or phrases, jerky, tense. Followed by, ‘The nightmares began.’
  • As he makes the decision his state of mind changes and so does the weather to match, from rain to, ‘the sky smooth and pale
  • Finally he becomes calm, resolute, even excited as he begins to feel the rightness of this.
  • This was his place. Where he wanted to be. It was alright.’
  • Irony of Mrs Kingshaw’s thinking, ‘there is plenty of time for everything,‘ when in fact it is already too late.
  • For a second he hesitated, part of his mind starting to come awake…’ Kingshaw is in a trance like state. Cannot does not want to get beyond it. Wants to complete his resolution before he changes his mind.
  • The deliberateness of taking of his clothes, folding them up and getting into the water and ‘breathed in a long, careful breath.’
  • Hooper’s ‘spurt of triumph,’ shocks and appals us as we realise that he really was an evil, amoral character, irredeemable.
  • Mrs Kingshaw, ignorant to the end, ‘I don’t want you to look dear, you mustn’t look and be upset, everything is all right,’ unconscious echo of so many of Kingshaw’s hopeful thoughts. But bitterly ironic.


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