Flyte and Ryder begin their relationship in a positive way, which appears to fill the void that both men have. However, after further exploration of the novel, it is evident that a friendship does not provide enough to reach complete happiness. Sebastian ultimately becomes a forerunner for Charles by leading him to Julia and eventually to his faith. Through Sebastian and Charles, Waugh highlights the importance of religion and the need for a greater good. Thus, without a relationship with God, there will always be a missing piece in life.
Although from the outside it seems that Sebastian has it all, including money, looks and charm, he is suffering deep down and feeling a great sense of isolation. While his family is still physically present, he has pushed them as far away as he can mentally. “You must see the garden front and the fountain.” He leaned forward and put the car into gear. “It’s where my family live” (Waugh 83). This exemplifies the strong disconnect between Sebastian and his family. Because of the resentment that he has for his family, he’s not able to consider it his home; moreover, it is just a place where his family resides.
Charles is an extremely jaded man who expresses a great deal of hopelessness in the beginning of the prologue. Because of various situations in life, such as his mother’s death and his broken relationship with his father, Charles is left feeling resentful and empty. During his first few weeks at school, it is evident that Charles is searching for something or someone. He is not able to connect well with his peers and part of him is feeling very alone.
I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city. (Waugh 32) When Charles and Sebastian meet one another, there is an instant connection that they both feel. As Pattenden describes, Charles feels like he belongs when he’s with Sebastian, which is something that has been missing from his life. Their attraction to one another is very intense and Sebastian is ultimately the one who leads Charles into this enchanted garden. Befriending Sebastian suddenly offers Charles a fresh start.
Charles’ wants to become a part of the Flyte family to fill the void in his heart. Sebastian’s hesitation to Charles meeting his family is evident that there is a deep family struggle with the Flyte family. “All my life they've been taking things away from me. If they once got hold of you with their charm, they'd make you their friend not mine, and I won't let them” (39). The lack of family trust solidifies the fact that even though Sebastian has a family, he is left feeling very empty inside. Charles and Sebastian eventually isolate themselves from the rest of the world when their friendship progresses as they go back to school. Even when there is a divide in their friendship, Charles is still extremely loyal to Charles and defends him without hesitation. “No, I’m with you, ‘Sebastian contra mundum” (Waugh 158). They are able to find happiness with each other but completely isolate themselves from the rest of the world. However, with Sebastian’s faith in God and Charles being an agnostic, the two men face a problem in their friendship. “That…