Themes and Characters
The characters in Men of Iron divide into two groups. The novel focuses on those characters belonging to the boyworld, including Myles Falworth and the other squires and bachelors gathered at Devlen Castle to train for knighthood. The second group of characters consists of those remote adults who regulate castle life and are responsible for training the boys in their charge. These adults operate largely behind the scenes, the boys often remaining puzzled by their actions and motives. During the course of the novel, however, these two groups gradually converge as Myles and his cohorts mature and gain admittance into the adult-world. At the end of the novel, Myles recognizes how the adults surrounding him have been watchful and concerned while allowing him repeated opportunities to prove himself and to grow in mind, spirit, and body.
Myles Falworth, the central character in the novel, is a lad of spirit, pluck, and mettle, an acknowledged leader in the boy-world. Bold and outspoken, he is also generous and openhearted, winning firm friends and admirers as well as enemies among his peers at Devlen Castle. Myles faces a difficult position at the castle: his father, Baron Falworth, is in exile, unjustly accused of treason, and Myles's patron and kinsman, the powerful Earl of Mackworth, can show him no open favor. Not understanding that the Earl is in a delicate position for harboring the son of an accused traitor, Myles denounces the Earl for cowardice...
(The entire section is 1295 words.)
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