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Such simple joy and fun have probably largely disappeared. SECTION 12 FIRST BITE AT THE APPLE Summary In this section Lee mainly recalls his first sexual encounters with girls, from the time he was eleven or twelve, though the section makes another interesting point too. First of the girls he experimented with was Jo. She was younger than him, and a willing but totally passive and silent partner in the games of 'doctor and patient' which they played after school on grassy banks in the valley. Sooner or later, of course, they were bound to be discovered - in this case by a couple of farm-hands, who treated the situation as high comedy.

Because of Lee's remarkable ability to recreate his childhood mind, relating to us his feelings as if there had been no passing of the years, we feel even more acutely the naivety, the inexperience, the simplicity, the excited curiosity, the anticipation, which are so powerful in childhood. 42 At no time in the book, using his adult voice, does he write of his own childhood in sentimental terms; but then, as we have seen, he does not often present himself as the central focus. Every time he presents a child in a situation of wide-eyed innocence, however, he is in effect asking us to respond to the simplicity of youth: brother Tony in his make-believe world; Phyllis at his bedside with her hymns of Eden; Laurie himself thinking about the deserter, before he knew what war was - all of these are reminders of the short time in all our lives when life could be lived at a natural level, simple and free from care.

He is taken over entirely by his senses; since he is physically confined to bed, he can only live through his senses: through what he can see, touch, taste, smell and hear. This must have helped develop the sensuous awareness that is to be found throughout the book. As a final point - to be developed more fully later - it is worth mentioning the great humour in this section. It is perhaps very typical of the writer as we see him in this book that he is more prepared to make fun of himself than of anyone else, and to find comedy in times of greatest personal adversity.

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