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Write a considered treatment of Frank's behaviour in Iain Banks' "The Wasp Factory" and conclude whether he is insane or sane but suffering from a condition.

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Write a considered treatment of Frank's behaviour and conclude whether he is insane or sane but suffering from a condition. In this essay I am going to look closely at the depicted character and the relevant scenarios in which he appears. I am going to consider the character Iain Banks is attempting to display and conclude; based on my summary of the writer's intentions whether or not the character is insane. I feel that the writer's perception of the fictional character is paramount because he is the creator and therefore should possess the ultimate understanding. I am however not able to medically analyse frank for obvious reasons so I will therefore limit my conclusion to insanity or sanity but suffering, with no further explanation of what the character may be suffering from. Throughout this essay the definition of insanity should be understood to mean clinically insane and thus incapable of rational thought, differentiation between reality and imaginary worlds and the ability to live within a society adequately. The novel is written in the first person, which gives us an unprecedented insight into the characters mind and its workings. Frank dabbles in the realms of imagination with such examples including his various wars and damn building. Both of which display vindictive and to some extent sick qualities with the destruction of the imaginary often symbolised by physical inanimate objects. However this is not necessarily an insane act. ...read more.


He is capable of looking after himself even to a degree of obsessive ness considering the cleaning ritual he employs. But it is only because this is highlighted by the writer and therefore analysed by the reader that we segregate it from normal behaviour. Ritual is a part of everyday life and meticulous people are not necessarily insane. The fact that he takes a great interest in cleanliness could stem from a disorder such as obsessive-compulsive-disorder (OCD). This is unlikely though as he is able to break routine when he feels it is necessary to produce substances such as "toe nail cheese" through the lack of washing. Anyone suffering from such a disorder is usually unable to break routine so easily. It is however paramount that we consider the fact the author described this point and it is plausible he did so to suggest that Frank was insane or at the very least meticulous. This again is a regular occurrence in serial killers who become pedantic and often precise through necessity. Frank displays other qualities, which lead us to believe he is capable of rational thought. He considers his situation on occasion, attempts to regulate his behaviour as not to provoke an outburst from Eric and seems more than adequately capable of even the most complex of thought processes; predicting, based on experience, another individuals most probable line of action. The murder of Esmerelda is possibly the easiest scenario to assign category to. ...read more.


In comparison to Eric Frank appears perfectly sane whilst the opposite could be said if he is compared to any other character. I therefore conclude that the author intended us to believe that if Frank isn't currently insane he is far too unstable and likely to go the way of his brother to be called sane. In conclusion Eric is neither sane nor insane. He is a complex character who possesses both sane and insane qualities alike. His insanity is most evident in his justification of his disposal of Esmerelda although this contrasts greatly with his socialising. He is capable of rational thought although his rationalisations would not necessarily suit the average, sane individual. I believe the author wishes to leave us undecided as to the characters state of mind as it would undoubtedly remove the enjoyable spark if we were able to relate to him. We would also be capable of deciding whether he was sane or not depending on our ability to relate to him assuming we are all sane. Therefore I conclude Eric is sane to a point and his obvious insane qualities could possibly be eliminated. He may be suffering from some form of disorder although I feel it is highly unlikely. I also believe that his creator (the author) doesn't wish us to fully understand Eric, as it would remove our interest in the character. I personally feel he is sane although I wouldn't consider him to be normal or socially acceptable. Therefore I conclude it is impossible to conclude whether he is insane or not as the author has not defined him as being either. ...read more.

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