I can excuse the fact that Michael made no real long term preparations as he had to leave urgently or his inheritance would have been assimilated into the Brotherhood by Brother Benedict because of Sebastian’s vow of poverty. Sebastian decides to go to England because there are millions of people there with crowds arranging from big to small. It gave them the cover that they needed. We can easily tell that Michael was going to be unstable as all his life he has not encountered the “Real World” as he has been lifted and laid by his mother and father while he lived at home.
Then when he joins the Brotherhood he was provided with everything he needed. We can also tell he hasn’t been a victim of any criminality which also gives him an appropriate reason to be so trustworthy because when he goes to take some cash from what he received he signs a document without even thinking of what possible information it could include and is charged interest on his own money by Maguire the solicitor. The simile “The silver brio felt like ice in his hand as he signed” indicates that Maguire was far from trustworthy.
Owen may be only young but he has developed a great deal of street sense for his age. Despite Owen’s age, this indicates to me that he has a skill that he could benefit from more than which Michael could benefit from to help with survival on the streets. There was no plan for what they would do after the money had run out or which way their lifestyle was going. This shows me that Michael was not thinking entirely clear and smart about the situation he had put himself and Owen in.
However, it’s possible the death of his father could have affected his mental health and resulted in that he was not thinking rationally. Michael and Owen were checking into the hotel and the receptionist of the hotel was reading a book called “Act of Love” which is a harbinger of what Michael does to Owen, an “Act of Love”. Michael also takes the name Abraham which is a symbolic as it is like the bible story of Abraham and Isaac because Abraham attempts to sacrifice his son as an “Act of Love”.
Michael lays down a few rules for Owen to follow which is again father and son relationship. With Michael’s lack of parental skills he does well to speak more firmly to get Owen to know who is boss. We are informed of how Michael spends his money stupidly “Toys, Expensive Hotels and Cigarettes” but once again I don’t see this as a bad side of Michael I feel Owen to trust him and make himself a role model for the boy. Owen steals a pen from a shop and gives it to Michael for a gift, this show us that Owen is thankful at this point of his life and wanted to show thanks.
Michael shouts at Owen for stealing and Owen cries again this shows us that Owen now trust Michael and has feelings as this was the first time Michael had seen the boy cry. When he hugs Michael to apologise this completely showed us the trust he had for Michael and the Father and Son theme again registers its presence in the novel again. Bernard McLaverty uses the flash back technique to remind us, of which way the boy had lived and why Michael had justification for taking him. “Brother Benedict’s punishments and victimization, the boy’s mother weeping and drinking and hating…
A life of misery of frustration that led to inevitable crime and love less ness” The description the novel gives for the first attack Michael witness is upsetting. “Owen slithered down but because of the wall bars, remained upright during the attack. He gyrated and threshed, his knees and legs unable to bend. His head pummelled on the bars. His eyes rolled and he made strange noises” This horrific attack which suddenly impaled itself on Owen gets the audience thinking “what if this happens while Owen and Michael are alone?
” These points and more should have been thought of in a long term plan, but Michael is in the “phrase” in which he was did not have the mental strength to think of these salient points. In the novel the weather is used to show when things are going well and when things are going bad. When Michael’s money starts to disappear the weather around them becomes poor with wind and rain. The reader easily notices the technique used and naturally become tensed.
When Michael purchases a radio and listens to Ireland’s radio station this recreates the atmosphere for the reader and reminds them that they are still be hunted for. This is also a great technique to create suspense. We finally discover that the search has moved to England. At this point of the story you start to feel the sense of tension and are worrying how long they have got left and how are they going to get caught. However Michael is still trying to be a father to Owen. He takes Owen to see his favourite team play.
Owen is obviously excited as it is his first time. Michael said to Owen “Stiff elbows” as he lifted him above the crowd. Again this shows us a resemblance to Michael and his father’s relationship. The crowds are very rowdy and Owen and Michael move to the front of the crowds closer to the pitch. This again is like father and son relationship going to watch the game. All this excitement triggers Owens attack. Once Owen was laid in a recovering room Michael had the chance to let the boy return by leaving him by himself but his choice was not that.
According to my opinion I believe he still had hope for Owen and himself to live together and he didn’t want to leave Owen, as Owen would have thought he was being abandoned. Michael creates a turning point in the novel in chapter thirteen when he makes a plan. At this part of the novel we are told he has made a plan and nothing else. This is to create suspense and have the reader to read on to see what the plan is. We are told that the plan is coming from demons at the back of his mind which triggers the sense of evil.