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'In Marabou Stork Nightmares Irvine Welsh graphically portrays the impact patriarchal imperatives, norms and ideals exert on the psychological disposition of the underprivileged working-class youth'. Analyse Welsh's novel in light of this remark.

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Introduction

'In Marabou Stork Nightmares Irvine Welsh graphically portrays the impact patriarchal imperatives, norms and ideals exert on the psychological disposition of the underprivileged working-class youth,' (Berthold Schoene-Harwood). Analyse Welsh's novel in light of this remark. The text I have chosen to focus on is Irvine Welsh's, 'Marabou Stork Nightmares,' as I have found it particularly interesting I comparison to the other novels. Irvine Welsh introduces us to the wildly active, albeit coma-beset mind of Roy Strang, whose hallucinatory quest to eradicate the evil Marabou Stork keeps being interrupted by disturbing memories of social and family dysfunction that brought him to this state. In the novel Welsh portrays Roy as an anti-hero, someone that believes that violence is the answer when fighting to earn power and respect. This is something that Roy that Roy believes he is entitled to as a man, however, it is clear throughout the novel and it is also pointed out in 'The Dark Continent of Masculinity' that Roy is, ... 'under enormous pressure to assert himself as a man.' As mentioned previously, power is a major theme and at different stages of the novel, different characters hold the power over others. There is a definite sense of an ongoing pattern of abuse and that, 'every victimiser is shown to have started life as a victim." For example, we are told in the novel that Gordon Strang's father was sexually abusive and in turn indicates that it was the sexual abuse that turned John into a 'nutter,' as Roy describes him, and Uncle Gordon into the rapist of Roy. ...read more.

Middle

In the novel it appears as though he feels confident, fully aware of his motives and in control of his course of action, 'I am driven to eradicate the scavenger-predator bird known as the Marabou Stork' (page 4) Although, even at this early stage in the novel he is not sure how long he has been on the quest for and is unsure of the reasons behind it, 'I now have as little control down there as I did in the real world...' (page 157). It seems as though Roy's quest is to loose himself as he doesn't want to find himself retreating into the unconscious realm, escape reality he attempts suicide. Even at the start of the novel there is a sense of a nightmarish reality of which he is trying to escape. At the start of the novel (page 6) Welsh uses a metaphorical description of the vehicle Roy is driving, as the vehicle becomes him. He is losing control and as he can't trust the vehicle we can't trust his narrative, he is not in control of his narrative, 'Fuck... were am I?' Roy believes that he must catch the Stork to gain control of his life, he thinks when he catches it he will be ready to go back into the real world, 'HUNT THE STORK TO GET CONTROL.'(page 11) The stork is personified as a symbol of all badness, 'If I kill the stork I'll kill the badness in me. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the extract, Berthold Schoene-Harwood believes, 'The moment Kirsty takes her revenge on Roy and cuts off his penis is not a moment of feminist emancipation but a moment of acute patriarchal subjection.' The disturbing way in which Kirsty seeks her revenge again shows this ongoing pattern of abuse, she was once the victim but now holds the power over Roy, she herself is the victimiser, 'You've made me just like you.' (page 29). As well as Kisty gaining her revenge on Roy, he also seeks revenge against his father's beloved dog, Winston. Even though Winston viciously attacked Roy's leg when he was just a young boy, his father refused to put the dog down and made Roy lie about the incident. This again shows the lack of care and respect that John had for Roy and again could be an excuse for why he had no respect or care for others. Since the incident with Winston Roy has always been determined to get revenge, however when he finally kills the dog he is no longer an aggressive young animal but an old weak creature. This is similar to the situation with Roy and Kirsty, when she finally seeks her revenge he is not violent and angry but rather anunleathal man in a coma. I think the novel, despite the disturbing nature, is very interesting especially when portraying masculinity, femininity and patriarchal imperatives with an original and modern view. ...read more.

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