Peter Carey's the Fat Man in History

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Peter Carey's The Fat Man in History
By Michael Huynh

Entrapment and Isolation are common attributes of characters throughout several of the stories in The Fat Man in History. This comes across in many forms, both physical and mental. In most of the stories both entrapment and isolation often the result of the interaction of both. Stories which this theme is apparent are Crabs, Windmill in the West, and A Report on the Shadow Industry. In all of these stories characters are both entrapped and isolated by their behaviour and environment. They are not totally entrapped or isolated in all situations as they can change their behaviour to avoid this, however some of the stories depicting characters isolated or entrapped by their environment have less choice in their situation.

Crabs was one of the stories where the isolation and entrapment were results of behaviour but later involved environment. The setting we are introduced to is one of isolation portrayed by the every man for himself world. Car owners were the prey of both Karboys and Police with support from no one against these forces. Crabs could have avoided this by having car that was less of a target, or not having a car at all, even though this would have been a difficult sacrifice. This isolation was the cause for his physical entrapment in the drive-in. During his entrapment in the drive in a further isolation was endured by Crabs. His choice of solitude was brought on by himself however, as he had become bored with the world around him. Crabs and the people in the drive-in further this entrapment by their lack of attempts to escape, or their ultra conformity to their situation. This entrapment of having no where to go is also featured in Windmill in the West, however it is a different set of circumstances.

In Windmill in the West the soldier experiences isolation by his location and lack of information, "there was no orientation brief, no maps". He is so far from anything for him to possibly...
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