Edward Lyons

Edward is the twin taken away from his biological mother and brought up as part of the wealthy Lyons family. He is an only child and is the focus of his mother’s attention, as his father is often absent due to working. Edward is a warm and kind boy, who enjoys interacting with other children. When he meets Mickey at the age of seven, he is excited by his new friend’s rebelliousness. He is drawn to Mrs Johnstone, who is very different to his own mother.

As a teenager, Edward is a loyal friend. He puts Mickey’s feelings before his own, encouraging Mickey to ask Linda to be his girlfriend even though Edward has feelings for her himself. When he is older, Edward is able to draw away a little from his overprotective mother and become more independent, spending as much of his time as he can with Mickey and Linda.

When he is 18, Edward goes to Oxford University, putting him on the path to becoming successful – as an adult he is Councillor Lyons. He lacks understanding of Mickey’s feelings when he is made redundant because he cannot empathise with his situation. When he is older, he helps Linda find Mickey a job and helps them find a family home. However, he also starts an affair with Linda, leading to the final tragedy.

Kind

How is Edward like this?

When he meets Mickey, Edward is happy to share his sweets with his new friend.

Evidence

MICKEY
[Trying to work out the catch; suspiciously taking one.] Can I have another one. For our Sammy?
EDWARD
Yes, of course. Take as many as you want.

Analysis

Edward is warm and generous with Mickey, sharing his sweets freely. This also draws attention to the differences between the boys. Edward is not used to being around other children, so he is not as suspicious as Mickey. As his parents are wealthy, Edward is more relaxed with sharing his possessions.

Warm

How is Edward like this?

Edward quickly becomes fond of Mrs Johnstone and has a connection with her.

Evidence

I thought you didn’t like me. I thought you weren’t very nice. But I think you’re smashing.

Analysis

Edward is very animated with Mrs Johnstone and responds enthusiastically as soon as she is kind to him. He keeps the locket she gives him a secret for as long as he can, suggesting that once he forms a connection with someone he is loyal.

Tactless

How is Edward like this?

Edward cannot understand Mickey’s frustration when he is made redundant. The way he reacts is thoughtless.

Evidence

Why... why is a job so important? If I couldn’t get a job I’d just say, sod it and draw the dole, live like a bohemian, tilt my hat to the world and say ‘screw you’. So you’re not working. Why is it so important?

Analysis

Edward is inconsiderate of Mickey’s feelings and makes light of the serious situation his friend is in. He shows no empathy towards Mickey as he cannot understand how difficult life for Mickey is without having a comfortably off middle-class family to fall back on - which Edward has.

Analysing the evidence

MICKEY
My best friend, he could swear like a soldier.
You would laugh till you died at the stories he told y'.
He was untidy from Monday to Friday
I wish that I could be like
Kick a ball and climb a tree like
Run around with dirty knees like my friend.
Question

How does Russell present Edward’s closeness with Mickey?

  • Edward emphasises the differences between him and Mickey, which is what draws him to his new friend.
  • Edward leads a very restricted life as his mother is overprotective, so he is envious of Mickey’s freedom and more relaxed childhood. This leads to him wanting to spend a lot of time with Mickey and admiring Mrs Johnstone as a mother figure.