The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ is written by Sue Townsend and was first published in 1982. In my analysis of this novel, I will focus on the main characters. In addition, how they change and develop throughout the novel. I am also going to take a deeper look into the theme of the novel and see what topics the novel deals with.
Adrian Albert Mole lives in Leicester together with his parents George Alfred and Pauline Monica Mole with their dog, called Dog. Adrian is a worried and confused teenager who believes himself to be an intellectual. Pandora Braithwaite is the love of Adrian’s life. At first Nigel, Adrian’s best friend was together with Pandora, but the day Adrian wore red socks to school and unintentionally started a protest, Pandora was all his.
Adrian Mole is a Good Samaritan. Adrian helps and looks after Bert Baxter, an 89-year-old man. In the meantime, Adrian’s parents Pauline and George are experiencing some martial problems. Pauline takes off with her new partner, the next-door neighbour Mr “Creep” Lucas, as Adrian has nicknamed him. Consequently, George also finds himself a new partner. Doreen” Stick Insect” Slater, as Adrian has nicknamed her because of her slender figure.
One of the underlying themes of the novel is the social class difference in Britain. In the novel, we get to experience the huge difference between the lower and the upper working class when Adrian first gets to see the upper working class house that Nigel lives in. I think the writer of the novel has written this novel to show the readers the huge gaps in the British society when it comes to social classes.
“Nigel is dead lucky. His house is absolutely fantastic! Everything is modern. I don’t know what he must think of our house, some of our furniture is over a hundred years old!” (Page 63)
Another of the underlying themes in the novel that I want to bring to the surface is Adrian’s desire and ambitions in life; his desires and ambitions to win Pandora’s heart and his ambitions to become a published writer of poetry for BBC and his failure to achieve them.
Adrian’s parents belong to the lower working class, and after his mum leaves him behind, he finds himself stuck with his unemployed, depressed and drinking father that is not even capable of paying the bills. Because of the lack of money, Adrian has to help his father, until he pulls himself together and gets a job. The day George gets a unique business idea, Adrian is not afraid to show his pride over his father’s accomplishment.
“My father is going to start his own business making spice racks. He has spent the last of his redundancy money on buying pine and glue. Our spare bedroom has been turned into a workshop. Sawdust is all over the house. I am very proud of my father. He is now a company director and I am now a company director’s son!”(Page 173)
The statement above tells us indeed that Position in the society and having a Title matters quiet much for Adrian and he desires to be “someone”. This may be because he has a low self-esteem when it comes to his background and what he comes from.
Adrian Mole, himself
The novel is in the first person in form of a diary. Adrian Mole is the main character in the novel and we see the actions in the novel through his eyes. Adrian is a worrier and an insecure boy, who struggles with finding out who he actually is and where he belongs. Throughout the story, Adrian changes with his actions. In the beginning of the novel, Adrian is a teenage boy that cares about his looks and outer broadcast. He is self-obsessed, and everything involves around him and his miseries and problems. He believes himself to be an intellectual and has a desire to become a poet. While complaining about the size of his spots throughout the 30 first pages of the novel, slowly others sides of Adrian reveals. After Adrian started the red sock protest together with Pandora, Adrian changes, I think. For looking up on himself as being an intellectual person that cares about doing well in school and becoming a poet, he turns around to become a rebellion together with Pandora. From being an intellectual boy, he turns around to become a cool boy that follows the “stream”. However, Adrian is still an insecure boy trying to find out who he is, and nothing about the sock “stunt” were intentionally.
“They asked me if the fact that I had chosen to protest in red socks had any significance. I lied and said I had chosen red because it was a symbol of revolution, then I blushed revolutionary red.” (Page 86)
When it comes to the relationship between Adrian and his parents, I feel that Adrian has to deal with adult stuff more than a teenager should. Instead of being supporting parents, I think Adrian is the one acting like a parent. He is looking after his father when his mother has left them. It also seems as if Adrian is not getting any support from his parents. In my opinion, he has to find out about life and way of living on his own. In a way, I get a feeling that Adrian is a kind of lonely person. If you compare to Pandora’s parents Adrian has a very different world when it comes to parents. I think Adrian has got a sad upbringing compared to Pandora’s upbringing. Adrian’s parents might have so many problems with themselves that this is kind of putting Adrian completely out in the shadow, I think
“Pandora’s parents were in the wooden kitchen doing the Sunday Times crossword. They seem to get on quite well together.” (Page 86).
While starting reading this book I got the impressing of Adrian as a self-obsessed winding boy. Throughout the book, my impression of Adrian changed. He seems insecure and is concerned by comparing himself to how other friend’s lifestyles and what their homes look like. I think that is one of the reasons why Adrian has so high goals for himself in life. He came from a background where they had little money and love. Because of this, it has been very important for him to get himself a good life. In the end, I wonder if your background decides how your life will be. Can a person have enough power within himself to manage to get the life he dreams of? This novel made me have reflection of different aspects in life.