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I intend to analyse how Iain Banks uses the techniques of characterisation and symbolism to highlight the themes of responsibility and relationships in his novel complicity.

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Introduction

I intend to analyse how Iain Banks uses the techniques of characterisation and symbolism to highlight the themes of responsibility and relationships in his novel complicity. "All of those murdered were bad men...arms dealers, child porn merchants, irresponsible business men, but did that give the killer permission to end their lives?" (Elle Haddock) On reflection I too wonder if "that gave the killer permission to end their lives?" - the ruthless and sinister character Andy from Banks compelling novel 'Complicity'. The above extract from footle.net is basically the central dilemma of the book and provides the dramatic moment when the killer is finally confronted with what he has done. The novel itself broadly outlines the themes of loathing, politics, relationships and responsibility. I intend to analyse how Banks techniques of characterisation and symbolism help the reader to understand these themes in particular relationships. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, Cameron Colley is a reporter for Caledonian newspaper, with his casual attitude to life. He is addicted to speed, cigarettes and computer games. As the story begins Cameron receives a series of anonymous phone calls, a mystery source, which he assumes could lead to the next big scoop. ...read more.

Middle

Although as Mr Archer is characterised to be ruthless and sinister, it is still picked up though careful word choice during Mr Archers thoughts that he cares, " I half admired her, half despised her" At this point we realise that Mr Archer has sympathy for the maid. He still has feeling. There is a certain irony in Andy's character. In one hand he is very strongly against Thatcherism. He appears to hate all people who have power, doctors, politicians, newspaper reporters, as he feels that they abuse their power. A variety of events have resulted in Andy feels this way, the main undoubtedly being Claire's death. During a flash back in the novel we realise that at one point in his life Andy was close to death too. "He had been under the ice, under the water for ten minutes or more." This was the event when Cameron realised " He was different, and had changed, even though I knew people changed all the time and people our age changed faster than most" This one even changed Cameron's perception of Andy. He realised that he had nearly ost him through something as spontaneous as running across a bed of frozen ice. ...read more.

Conclusion

The narrative `perspective in the novel also changes at this point. It changes to second person, I feel this is an irony on the readers part. As like Cameron seeing life in a computer screen, we, the reader are part of the life through a book. Although we contradict Colley's view we do not realise our selves that we are doing it. Also as again we feel part of the story, we should incorporate the themes into our own lives. Perhaps learn from Colley's mistakes. Banks justifies all of the assumptions made during the novel. We see the relevance of the flash backs, we see hidden messages in the events that dominate the book. We find out that Andy only murdered those whom he felt played a dominating role in his life, like the doctors who let Claire die, the child porn merchants, and those irresponsible businessmen. In many ways I sympathise with Andy but on the hand his abusive power only means he too is going against his own protest. He uses the power that he has in the wrong ways. So like Ms Elle Haddock I too am not quite certain of whether "this give the killer permission to end their lives!" Page 10 ...read more.

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