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Heathrow night’s main character

This essay is an analysis about the main character Russell in the book “Heathrow nights”. He is a teenage boy with a troubled mind. Throughout the whole book he discusses about his life, thoughts and other aspects related to his life that bothers him.The main character in Heathrow nights is Russell Jagger a teenage boy who’s about 15 years old and lives with his mother Sarah and his stepfather Christopher Hague. Russell doesn’t like his stepfather, not because he is mean in any way – Russell doesn’t like him because he married so fast with his mother. Anyone who has married so swiftly with his mother is called Claudius, because Russell compares his life with Hamlet in the Hamlet play by Shakespeare.

The Heathrow night’s story starts off by Russell intercepting a letter from the principal that says that he, Adam and Curt are suspended from the school trip to Cumbria, because they interrupted a play in the Theatre royal. He makes a quick verdict to escape disappointment from his mother and stepfather and decides to travel to London with his two disobedient friends Adam and Curt. Russell is the leader of his friend group and becomes really worried when he, Curt and Adam can’t stay in Shanti’s (Adams’s sister) flat and they end up in Heathrow airport. Eventually Curt and Adam are out of his way, because their parents have found out where they really where instead of being in Cumbria. This leaves Russell to himself, thinking more in depth about his life so far.

Russell’s role in the story at the beginning, is a caring father role, a kind teenager who isn’t rebellious in any way, he does his homework’s and doesn’t get into trouble. The father role he had taking the time his father was alive, was because his father was a pilot, he was never home. Therefore Russell became this caring teenager who was often alone with his mother, taking care of her. Russell develops into a rebellious teenager, after his father’s death and soon after his mother has remarried. After his father’s death Russell becomes cruel and does rebellious things, he leaves his home to go to London with his friends and doesn’t care if his mother gets worried. In the end of the book however, he changes back to his normal self and finally accepts Mr. Hague as a stepfather. Russell transforms back into being that caring teenager he once was, but without having to take on the father role this time.

I think that the reasons for why Russell changes into a rebellious and “mean” teenager is because he hasn’t finished grieving for the loss of his father and already has to deal with a new person “intruding” his family – the stepfather. Russell misses his father a lot and he shows that by being impolite to his stepfather whenever he meets him – I think that this behaviour could also be a way of showing loyalty to his real father. Russell doesn’t say so much in the beginning of the book, but when he gradually changes to not being rebellious, he starts to think more, expressing his thoughts and feelings in an improved manner.

Believe it or not, Russell’s behaviour is not one of a kind. He behaves just like many other teenagers would do in his situation – he is quiet and doesn’t express his thoughts and emotions. Instead of being loud and boisterous (which seems to be another common phenomenon amongst rebellious teenagers) Russell chose to suffer in silence when he felt he had been treated poorly.
I am the quiet type of teenager just like Russell, but teenagers that are rebellious and quiet, have the same situation as Russell, would identify more with him much more than I do, since their personality is the same. Teenagers with the same personality and family situation as Russell would identify more with him than I do.

I can identify with Russell in some ways, I don’t let somebody see my emotions, I am quiet mostly and I don’t show my feelings in any way or say anything when I have been deficiently treated. I am really like Russell if you consider the personality part, except the rebellious side of him; I would never escape from home, worrying my parents. The biggest difference between me and Russell is that, I would never do anything to concern them so much that I would escape from my home.

A teenager who’s been through same experiences as Russell can probably relate more to him than I do, but what we all teenagers have in common, is that we reflect about our lives like Russell and think a lot about the meaning of life especially if someone close to us have died, then suddenly the meaning of life becomes more important to think about. In these aspects Russell’s behaviour and thoughts about his life reflect all young people’s inner struggles with the meaning of life

I can also identify with Russell because I had inner struggles with the meaning of life before, in a very similar way, especially the question “What happens to you after you have died?”
Russell quotes Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” when his thinking about death and this is a proof from the book that teenagers do think about death.

Frankly, I think the story tells about a teenage boy’s meaning of life struggles, at the same time it is changes and that he is afraid of changes. The negative about the book is that the author Jan Mark could have described his feelings, thoughts more in depth than they were, than it would have been much easier to understand his emotions. The book could have been more physiological than it was, to get a better illustration of his thoughts.

Russell discusses a lot about the meaning of life, in other words death. I believe he discusses so much about it, because his loving father has died, who was a major part of his life and that’s why he started to think about that topic. Plus the “intruder” Mr. Hague – is a decent guy but Russell hasn’t grieved enough for his father and he can’t let anybody new in his heart. He didn’t know his father that well when his father was alive and that’s probably the biggest reason why he doesn’t want to be friends with his stepfather. Not only has his father died, his mum just married and he just got a stepfather. Russell’s behaviour and thoughts about his life reflect all young people’s inner struggles with the meaning of life, because he think about things like death, suicide and escaping from home – like teenagers think about in common. He arrives at several answers regarding death, he doesn’t think that dead persons are somewhere around in spirits, he thinks they are just not there and that there isn’t an afterlife.

I think that Russell is a teenage boy that is very alike many teenagers and that his struggle to deal with his life and his identity is very similar to many rebellious teenagers’ lives and identities. But to be more accurate, every teenager has probably had inner struggles with the meaning of life similar to Russell. Teenagers struggle a lot with the meaning of life since they’re heading towards adulthood which simply means taking more responsibility and being vulnerable just like Russell.

Anika Hossain

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