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Many Characters in The Wasp Factory Seek to Exert Control over Themselves, Others and the Environment. What does Iain Banks have to Say about the Idea of Control in the Novel?

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Introduction

Many Characters in The Wasp Factory Seek to Exert Control over Themselves, Others and the Environment. What does Iain Banks have to Say about the Idea of Control in the Novel? Throughout the whole novel of the Wasp Factory, the story is based around a recurring theme of control and whether it?s through Frank his Dad or a higher power intervening, control or lack of it is the key element to Frank?s personality. Anger, ambition and his dad control him while he controls everything he can, even making his own death factory for wasps trespassing on his island as a hierarchy of ?God complexes? take shape. Yet can he even stay in control of himself? it turns out no, but can anyone? Iain Banks leaves the reader pondering some very interesting questions about the extent to which we control our own lives or we all just God?s own wasps in a factory where are actions are dominated by other people?s choices. At the very beginning of the book, Banks draws our attention to the differences of the Cauldhame; their isolation from society and the strange way in which their family goes about their days. The first scene we get of Frank is of him fixing up a sign warning off ?intruders? saying that the island their house is on is ?private property?. The reader immediately gets a first and lasting impression of Frank?s unusual aggression and control hungry personality. ...read more.

Middle

The oceans is not fixed and so is the one being that Frank can never contain, control or measure. At one in the book he even claims a victory, a small one but nonetheless, a battle he feels he won. He manages to throw a bottle, washed up on his island, back out into the sea, and when it remained, ?victory came over him.? Frank seems to believe here that the sea is purposefully trying to get one up on him as if it?s living and thinks about what its actions, which is an absurd thing for a human to think let alone a teenager. But there are several instances where Frank does appear to be above humans and he certainly never acts like a teenager, always appearing older by the crimes he commits or younger through his perpetual childishness, building dams etc. For example in the middle of the story, Frank?s concern over Eric (his brother) overrides him and he soon feels the need to control him too. So he begins to search for the skull of Old Saul in order to contact and take control over Eric?s mind telepathically. It is one of many surreal moments in Banks? novel but different to the others. While previously they all suggest he is just disgusting in every way as a child, this episode suggests that Frank is, in his own way different to humans and looking down on the human population. ...read more.

Conclusion

Through calling the barman to discover Frank?s purchases, teaching him ridiculous word meanings and keeping a lock on his study door, Angus was able to keep his place of power right up to the final few pages when Frank finally discovered his real self. Throughout the whole book Frank is just his dad?s idea of a fun experiment in the same kind of way Frank?s wasps are to him. We see Frank at the beginning seem to do anything he feels he wants without thinking, but can anybody make all their own choices? Can anyone do exactly what they want like Frank or do higher powers intervene? Both Frank and his dad try to be in control of everything below them but neither really is. Frank wants his own world but in the end can?t even be his own person, control his own gender. Banks suggest to us maybe free will never did exist and everybody is dominated by something higher than them, whether it?s conscience, or another God, the real one. And by the end you really end up understanding the hierarchy of God complexes that Banks has presented us with develop. Frank rules his wasps as their God while he ends up being his dad?s very own wasp to experiment on. Are any of us in control or we all just one big bunch of God?s wasps in a factory designed for his satisfaction? ...read more.

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