Envy is a metaphorical poison. Fred is envious of Ken, and it is this that fuels his undeclared hatred of his companion. Fred envies everything Ken has that he does not. This includes physical attributes. Ken, who wears only shorts and a shirt in the boat, is bigger and stronger than the scrawny Fred, who keeps his body covered. "I wish I had your body," Fred says as they are rowing. He refers to Ken's physique more than once, as in "a big hefty bloke like you" and "that big frame of yours." It is as if he is obsessed with Ken's physical superiority.