Themes in ITKOTC

  • Mr Hooper
  • Charles Kingshaw
  • Edmund Hooper
  • Powerlessness
  • Evil can exist in young people
  • Adults’ insensitivity


Isolation and lack of love
  • None of them loves another – they are each isolated
  • Hoopers – cold and unaffectionate
  • Mrs Kingshaw – superficial – her displays are for show
  • Mr Hooper – didn’t love his first wife
    thinks only of sexual gratification with Mrs K not love
  • Love is an empowering emotion
  • Fielding shares his happiness and confidence
  • Lack of love debilitates – holds back, undermines
  • Edmund – isolated – in emotional vacuum
  • No barriers to his evil
  • Lack of communication – Mrs Kingshaw on the phone to her friend
  • Hopes dashed – Charles will be sent to Edmund’s school.
  • Isolation reinforced through setting
  • Warings – stands alone outside village
  • Hemmed in by countryside – hostile images, Hang Wood, the crow, the stubble in the field


Cruelty and the power of evil
  • Collection- of moths
  • Predatory – crow
  • Killing of – turkeys
  • Veal calves off to be slaughtered
  • Thrush – banging snail shell open
  • Humiliation of- elephants at the circus
  • Cruelty in children is quite common – cruelty is punished by family and society and the values of love and compassion taught.
  • Hooper’s experiences are not that unusual – mother died, unloved by father, jealous of new arrival
  • Hooper is described as strange – thin, sharp neck bones, something in his eyes, obsession with war, preferred reading material
  • Hooper’s triumph


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