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John Fowles The Collector Essay

1427 words - 6 pages

Formulate a reading of Clegg and Miranda. Discuss the techniques and reading practices that have encouraged your response to these characters. In your answer, you may discuss various literary techniques, structure, point of view, allusion, Existential and Heraclitian philosophies.Any characters in any text can be developed to encourage a personal response by a reader. The Collector, by John Fowles, is a novel that uses techniques such as symbolism and conflict to develop this response. Reading practices such as Marxist and Psychoanalytic readings are also used to form a reading of the two characters, that being Frederick Clegg and the other being Miranda Grey. Frederick is a strange 'collector' who no longer collects butterflies, but instead, he collects an art student - Miranda, He becomes fixated on her and keeps her captive in his Sussex house in England. It is also through the structure of the text, the point of view created, and the use of Existential and Heraclitian philosophies that allow readers to formulate a reading of Frederick and Miranda.Frederick Clegg, who prefers to be known as Ferdinand is constructed throughout the novel as someone who is disturbed, socially inept, emotionally deprived and originates from lower class society. Fowles uses a number of techniques and reading practices to allow the reader to either develop a dominant or resistant reading of Clegg. The way Fowles constructs Clegg brings the reader to feel a type of sympathy for him, mainly developed through the content that Clegg's dairy holds. Through this retrospective diary, the readers develop their emotions and become aware of Clegg's past, as well as his thoughts and feelings for the present, and into the near future. His diary format is continuous in structure and clearly develops the theme of the novel. A Marxist critical reading about Clegg's position in society and his class can be made, based from the background information that Clegg wrote. For example, he wins the lottery - which means he now has money, and "...money is power" (pg. 24). Readers can now assume that Clegg holds power through money, and as a male in society, this makes him a dominant member of society, but does not necessarily mean that he is automatically categorised into the upper class society. He writes in his diary about Miranda discussing class distinction, and his attitude towards the upper class. "She often went on about how she hated class distinction, but she never took me in... You only had to see her dainty ways to see how she was brought up... There was always class between us. (pg. 41) Clegg's motives and actions differ very much from that of Miranda. He is very direct, and states exactly what was done and how. Miranda, on the other hand, is constructed throughout the novel as someone who is educated and is of a higher class than Clegg, which puts her in a different position. Therefore, the reading that readers formulate about Miranda is more of a resistant or oppositional...

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