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.
When he meets Mickey, Edward is happy to share his sweets with his new friend.
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.
Edward quickly becomes fond of Mrs Johnstone and has a connection with her.
I thought you didn’t like me. I thought you weren’t very nice. But I think you’re smashing.
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.
Edward cannot understand Mickey’s frustration when he is made redundant. The way he reacts is thoughtless.
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?
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.
How does Russell present Edward’s closeness with Mickey?