What is a significant theme in About a Boy?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one significant theme that comes out of the novel is the idea that an individual's relationship with a media- driven society has to be monitored and controlled extensively.  Both Marcus and Will are reflective of this.  Will is self- indulgently driven by the media and Marcus remains distant from it.  Both extremes are shown to reflect a hollowness and emptiness within the individual.  Hornby seems to be suggesting that full immersion in cultural reality and complete removal from it do not possess the singular answer for happiness in the modern setting.  In this, there is a statement about how individuals must try to moderate their own relationship with an omnipotent force of media immersion.  Hornby shows that Marcus is not happy being outside the realm of media interaction, and that his gifts of bringing people together are reflective of a deep psychological condition that yearns for this togetherness.  Will is someone that lives his life through the media, but yet his happiness is still stunted.  In this, there is something being said about how to navigate a force that is as dominant and controlling as the presence of media in the modern setting.

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