Phil and anger

Phil’s rebellious attitude does not stop at authority. He is a dominant force in the slab room, quick to torment and intimidate anyone who challenges him, and even those who don’t. What begins as harmless banter quickly descends into abusive behaviour:

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Jack, you wouldn't know a good design from a plate of canteen mince.

At first, Phil’s teasing is steeped in the quick-fire, parody humour he and Spanky share, such as when he addresses Alan by the wrong name and speaks to him as if he was a child:

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...this here is what we call a sink...s-i-n-k.

The same humour is shown when he winds Sadie up during her visit to the slab room, or doubts Hector’s chances with Lucille Bentley.

But his sense of humour has a dark side. His anger begins to show when his folio is discovered and he attacks those involved, perhaps out of defence. He quickly quietens Jack’s comment on the difficulty of gaining a place at art school;

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Who asked you? You can’t even get the tin trunks off a chocolate soldier, Jack!

Then his seemingly kind offer to give Hector a makeover descends into Hector being stripped, tied to a radiator, wounded and left to wander the building, dishevelled and confused.

By Act Two (the afternoon), we witness the first of Phil’s rants, aimed at Jack Hogg. His need to dominate strengthens when he threatens Hector with a knife, telling him:

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One more sound and I swear before the Virgin Mary I’ll come in there and slice your beans off!

This darker, angrier side to Phil continues to grow until its climactic point – his mother’s escape from the hospital. Phil turns on Alan, lashing out at his privileged existence while listing all of the difficulties he has had to endure throughout his life. He concludes by lunging at Alan whilst threatening to cut him.

Given the turmoil faced by Phil it is understandable that he may feel resentment towards those from more advantaged backgrounds. It is also evident that Phil has not processed all of his painful experiences. He chooses to lash out, or deflect with humour, rather than discuss his feelings honestly and rationally.