Shelter

Outer characterization

Shelter is one of the main characters in Robert Swindells’ novel Stone Cold. Shelter is a forty-seven years old ex-army man who served for twenty-nine years in the National Service:

National Service. That was the thing. It brought ’em all in – the teds, the rockers, the Mammy’s boys. And it changed ’em, by golly it did. In six weeks. (…) There were no exceptions. And that was my mission in life – to turn dirty, scruffy, pimply youths into soldiers. Into men. (Daily Routine Orders 3, 0%)

Shelter is discharged from his position as a Sergeant-Major (Daily Routine Orders 3, 0%) on medical grounds, although he claims that there is nothing wrong with his health. 

Shelter’s physical appearance is described by Link, who first sees him as a “military-looking guy” (Daily Routine Orders 7, 85%). Later on, when Link supervises his building, he describes Shelter as “a big man in his forties. He wore an Aran sweater and cord trousers and had very short sandy hair” (Daily Routine Orders 15, 32%). Like Link, Shelter does not reveal his real name but chooses the name Shelter instead as he claims that is what homeless people are all looking for.

Inner characterization

Shelter is obsessed with getting rid of homeless people 

Shelter’s discharge from the army frustrates him to the point that he develops an obsession. He imagines himself as the victim of a conspiracy that aims to “undermine the country by clogging it up with dossers and junkies and drunks” (Daily Routine Orders 3, 0%). He believes that politicians, civil servants, social workers, and even the church are involved in the plan to drag the country down, so he is determined to fight back.

Moreover, Shelter has been discharged from the army on medical grounds which are unclear, as Shelter claims that he is physically healthy: “Discharge...

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