The Winslow Boy is a play by Terrance Rattigan. It is based on the Archer-Shee case, and is about a young fourteen-year-old boy named Ronnie, who is expelled from the Osbourne Naval Cadets for stealing a five-shilling postal order. This essay is all about some of Ronnie’s friends and family, and their different views on the case.
Arthur is Ronnie’s father. He believes that Ronnie is innocent because he knows his son better than anybody and can tell when he is lying or not. On page 34-35, Arthur asks Ronnie,
“Did you steal this postal order?” Ronnie’s then replies,
“No, Father. I didn’t.” Arthur asks again, staring into his eyes,
“Did you steal this postal order?”
“No, Father. I didn’t.” Arthur continued to stare into his eyes for a moment, then relaxes. This tells us that Arthur has decided that Ronnie is innocent. At one point, he had been talking to Grace, and she had almost convinced him to give the case up, and he nearly did. He told Sir Robert Moreton and Catherine that he wasn’t going to go through with the case, but they knew that he didn’t mean it, so they gave him a few days and he decided that he had made the wrong decision and went back to Sir Robert.
Grace is Ronnie’s mother. She believes that Ronnie is innocent, and that he didn’t steal the postal order, but she was very shocked when Ronnie was expelled. However, she is not as involved in the case as Arthur, and believes that he is “Blowing the whole thing out of proportion”. On page 78, for example, Grace is having a conversation with Arthur,
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“Oh! I wish I could see the sense of it all! (She points to Ronnie) He’s perfectly happy at a good school, doing very well. No need to ever have known about Osbourne, if you hadn’t gone and shouted it out to the whole world. As it is, whatever happens now, he’ll go through the rest of his life as ‘That boy in the Winslow Case’ “
She is very motherly and comforting towards Ronnie and doesn’t like the amount of stress being put on Ronnie by the case.
Catherine, Ronnie’s older sister, is a very strong-minded and intelligent person. She definitely knows that Ronnie did not steal the postal order and will not give up the case without a fight, and is prepared to sacrifice even her husband for Ronnie’s rights (This shows strong family bonds).
At times, she appears very tough and forces her opinion, but she does have a soft spot for Ronnie and is very motherly towards him. She is also very concerned about his rights and his image to the public. On page 70, Sir Robert Moreton is questioning Ronnie; He tells Ronnie that he is a liar and a thief,
“That’s a disgraceful thing to say!” She tells Sir Robert.
Dickie is Ronnie’s older brother. He isn’t really that bothered with Ronnie’s case, but he does care about him. He doesn’t mind if Ronnie did or didn’t steal the postal order. He shows this at the beginning of the book where he tells Ronnie how when he was at school, people stole things all the time and no one thought anything of it. Dickie is very careless, and he has a very poor attitude towards work, so he wasn’t really helping Ronnie at all, but he was trying to make him feel less bad about it. Sometimes, he gets a bit angry with his parents fussing over Ronnie so much, but never jealous such as when Arthur told him that he had to give up school so that he could pay for Ronnies case.
Violet is the family maid. She has known Ronnie all his life and is also very loving and motherly towards him. She is very supportive of the Winslows and she wants them to win the case. At the end of the story, she tells Arthur that she always said that it would be all right in the end and he agrees with her.
Dearest It is very important for me to express to you how much you really mean to me. I wish I could do this in person while holding you in my arms and gazing into your eyes. But since we are physically separated by miles of emptiness, this expression must come in the form of letters such as this. Catherine, I know it is difficult for you, as it is for me, to be separated for so long. Life seems ...
Sir Robert Moreton is a very famous solicitor in London. He is famous for his catchphrase “Let right be done”. He is very expensive, and considered to be the best solicitor in the whole of London. This shows that the Winslows care very much about Ronnie and are prepared to give anything for his rights. The Winslows hired him for their case because he is the “best in the London”. His way of thinking is similar to that of Catherine, for example, you know she would be a very good solicitor, as she could tell where all of his secret tricks and catches were when he interviewed Ronnie. He is very determined to win the case, and will not give up. When the case eventually is won, he cries with joy, which shows that he is quite an emotional man, but he tries to hide it and act tough. At the end of the book, Catherine asks if he was crying because justice had been done, “Not for justice, but because of right. Right has been done” was her reply.
John, Catherine’s ex-fiancé is not so friendly. He believes that the Navy is right and he supports them. It is not clear as to whether he believes Ronnie, but he thinks that the Navy had a “Right to expel him”. He thinks that a problem like this could seriously damage the Navy’s reputation, (especially if Ronnie is found to be innocent,) and tries to stop Catherine from going through with the case. He asks Catherine if she’s sure she’s not just wasting her time, but she knows that she isn’t. John sticks rigidly to the rules, and he does not care about Ronnie.