John Fowles “The Collector»
“The collector” is not one of those books that you can open after a hard day’s work and, deep in reading, forget about all the worries at least for a while. Rather the opposite – in some places it is quite ” bad ” book, if such a turn is generally applicable to literary works. Such reading is more likely to be called quite dark, repulsive and unpleasant; but after reading it, you will certainly have a question: how did the author manage to squeeze so much into a very small work?? And of course, you will not leave the feeling that you have already met a similar story somewhere: either in modern cinema, or somewhere else. But as far as I have been able to glean from a cursory study of the subject, John Fowles can hardly be called a plagiarist! Rather, it served as an impulse to popularize the genre of psychological Thriller, which is now so diligently exploited by American filmmakers (and only in places successfully)
What the book is about
Frederick is a young Amateur entomologist and butterfly collector. He looks like an ordinary young man, outwardly neat, respectable, and generous in his own way. Partly closed, but this trait can be explained by gaps in education, which, alas, could not be filled even at a more conscious age. Perhaps his limited Outlook also explains the lack of passion for life, a certain desire to constantly move forward and up… But all this is just empty chatter – until he kidnaps a young student Miranda in the heart of London. After all, he has a completely opposite opinion of himself – he is smart and agile, able to cope with any situation. However, his social maladaptation pushed him to this step, because kidnapping is the only way to get hold of the person who attracted his attention. And the most terrifying thing in this story is not the fact of the kidnapping, but the knowledge that he is not doing anything wrong!
In this dark story, it’s hard not to feel empathy for Miranda grey. Despite the fact that from the kidnapper, she can get literally everything she asks for, in the end, she was deprived of the main thing-freedom. Not wanting to rot like a plucked vegetable in the sun, she keeps a diary in which she refers to pleasant and fun memories. Most of them concern her friends and one particular person-a certain G. P., with whom she is infatuated. Even in spite of the two-fold age difference, G. P. for her-the embodiment of courage, life, nonconformism and just the ideal hero for the entire youth movement. She idolizes his artistic talent and is comfortable with his Bohemian lifestyle. In other words, the mysterious G. P. is the exact opposite of her captor.
If you are already familiar with the work of Fowles, you probably understand that his work is unlikely to be limited to just an intriguing description of the kidnapping and subsequent attempts to escape from prison. This scenario is suitable for a Hollywood movie, but not for a British classic. Therefore, a significant part of his book Fowles devotes to arguments about humanity, touches on controversial issues of religion and art. But he does this in his own way, that is, not directly, but through his characters, while giving each argument a special shade of the character of this character. Miranda sincerely believes in the “unspoiled” of her soul, supports the pacifist ideas of the same as her youth, but with all this, she daily struggles with the idea of killing her captor, and such a clash of opposites can not but cause a real storm of feelings in her.
On the reverse side of the coin – Frederick (aka Caliban-as if descended from the pages of Shakespeare) – the absolute opposite of what Miranda learned in school, learned in adulthood and absorbed through art. The aimlessness of Frederick’s life seems to manifest itself in his crime: he kidnapped and locked the girl in the basement, but this is the end of his crime. He does not seek sexual violence, he does not pursue selfish goals, demanding a ransom for his victim. For him, Miranda is another butterfly in the collection, which he is not going to let go, only he does not understand it yet. And do collectors release their exhibits!?
Throughout the work, the reader is sure to expect a deus ex machine, but this “miraculous escape” does not happen, and then there is a moment of frustration. But for me personally, this work is valuable not because of its action-Packed idea, but because of the problems that John Fowles touches on, even indirectly. And to put it more precisely – more important form, in which the author clothes his philosophical ideas, because like schizophrenic, he goes into a state of 20-year-old student of Miranda and its language leads to common arguments about art, and then settled in Frederick and the body language of a Neanderthal and skillfully transmits all his experience and lengthy thoughts.