Paul Durcan - H1-Grade Leaving Cert Sample Essay

October 5, 2017

It is obvious Alec comes from a privileged background. He was home-schooled; and we meet Mr. Cave, who is trying to teach Alec piano. Mr. Cave’s interaction with Alicia, Alec’s mother, is curious. It demonstrates how Alicia is a powerful, cold, yet beautiful woman. Alec’s father, Frederick, disagrees with Alicia over Mr. Cave’s dismissal and it’s clear that arguments between his parents are a regular occurrence.

Alicia is over-protective of Alec as he suffered from pneumonia in the early years of his life. We see that Alec lives a sheltered, isolated existence which he has no control over.

On a solo journey to the lake Alec gets overwhelmed by his desire to swim. Although his mother would disapprove, he makes his way there anyway. To his surprise, there is another boy swimming and they argue over the issue of trespassing. Eventually they make friends and swim together. The stranger is a working class boy of the same age who lives in the village.

This stranger, Jerry, and Alec make a pact: Alec will teach Jerry to horse-ride and Jerry will teach Alec to fight. This unlikely friendship is discovered by Alicia and she is appalled; she encourages Alec not to make friends with people of Jerry’s class.

Alec continues to spend time with Jerry and we encounter his new friend’s rebellious side. Jerry plays rebel songs on the mouth organ, smokes, and even encourages Alec to drink with him. Jerry advises Alec that he is leaving school to work and Alec is shocked.

Alicia organises a four-month trip of Europe for Alec; there is little Frederick can do to protest but he tells Alec that they will work on the family business together when he returns. When Alec returns, as promised, he learns the family business from his agingf ather.

Alec meets Jerry again at a horse race and Alicia is quick to usher her son away from the boy she believes is ‘a criminal’.


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