This study guide will help you analyse the short story "Kiss and Tell" by John Sam Jones. Here, we guide you through all the essential elements of the text that you should include in an analysis.
John Sam Jones (b. 1956) is a Welsh writer who is open about his homosexuality. Many of his literary works are about the lives of gay men. He has published both novels and short story collections.
Dylan Roberts is the second important character in the short story. As with Seimon, the author builds his characterisation by following the man’s perspective, his actions, and his attitude.
Dylan’s outer characterisation reveals that he is a “handsome and sexy” (l. 56) teacher of languages: “Welsh, French and German” (l. 117). He moves from Cardiff, the capital of Wales, to a small town for his job, and he is gay.
In terms of inner characterisation, Seimon views him as a passionate teacher, “animated with passion for his subject and the love of teaching” (l. 21).
When Dylan moves to the small town, he decides to hide the fact that he is gay, although in the capital he had been proud and open about his sexual orientation: “He pulled over before reaching the school to peel it off; he couldn’t see himself being out-and-proud in North Wales like he’d been in the capital.” (ll. 31-33)
This suggests that Dylan has prejudices about small communities, and assumes that in Rhos-On-Sea, people are more closed-minded.
However, when he discovers that most of his fellow teachers accept gay partnerships, he decides to be open about his own sexual preferences: “Over the Christmas holidays, Dylan considered these revelations and made a new year’s resolution to come out at school.” (ll. 49-50)
Later, Dylan is shocked to find out that he is accused of having an affair with a student, and he does not know how to react: “Dylan was suddenly choking on the room’s stuffiness and the abhorrence of the allegation against him.” (ll. 135-136); “Dylan’s complexion turned the colour of cheap household candles and his mouth seemed to fill with dry, gritty sand. There were questions he wanted to ask, but his usual fluency with language and lucidity of thought were shunted…” (ll. 140-142)
The fact that he remembers “Seimon Gwyn, smiling” (ll. 142-143) and that he also smiled back at the boy in class (ll. 21-22) might suggest that Dylan is also attracted to Seimon. However, perhaps he is aware of his student's interest in him only after being accused of having an affair with him, and he probably was just being nice to him in class.