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The Wasp Factory Essay

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“A Gothic horror story of quite exceptional quality...macabre, bizarre and...quite impossible to put down.”

The above quote is the response of the Financial Times to the best-selling novel, “The Wasp Factory”, and in my opinion, truer words were never spoken. I myself had to force the book out of my hands in the early hours of the morning on several occasions. This clearly says something about the sheer power of Iain Bank’s debut novel. Whether you love it or hate it, once you have read the first page you are instantly struck by it’s brilliance. Throughout this essay, I intend to explore the mind and characteristics of the main character, Frank Cauldhame.

Throughout the story, Frank’s character is brought out through his experiences, of
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He in fact likes his brother, and got on well with him, so you may ask why then did he feel the need to dispose of his brother. Well, according to Frank, the main reason that he and his brother always got on so well was because he “knew from an early age that he was not long for this world,” so Frank had tried to make his time as enjoyable as possible. Paul is killed by a German bomb that was uncovered by a powerful storm the night before Paul met his tragic end. However, right up to the end, Frank is very kind to Paul. His death is quick and painless. Frank tells Paul that the bomb is a bell, and if he hits it hard enough, a sound will come out. So, Frank runs to the top of a nearby dune, Paul hits the bomb, it explodes, and Frank’s murder tally rises to two. Frank’s main reason for killing his brother at this time is that he feels that finding the bomb is not only an opportunity, it is a symbol, a sign that he must obey.

So now to Franks third and final murder, that of cousin Esmerelda. The reason that Esmerelda dies could be seen as petty by many people, but to Frank, it is valid. Frank kills Esmerelda because she is a girl. He feels that, since he has already killed two boys, he owes it to the world to balance it out a bit, and Esmerelda is the unfortunate female that has been chosen to be disposed of. The most interesting detail about the murders that Frank has committed is that he
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