The Collector

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English Essay

In the novel the Collector by John Fowles, the reader feels sympathy and disgust for the antagonist Clegg; therefore Clegg is a perfect example of the antagonist to show that the reader is always positioned to respond negatively.

Society and Clegg's upbringing has made Clegg who he is, a pathetic, disturbed and a terribly lonely person. Though in making Frederick not a monster, but a pitiful, lonely man in need of love we sympathise towards Clegg. Through a Marxist interpretation we are able to get a better understanding of Clegg and his thoughts (being badly treated by society) and therefore able to sympathise towards him. "They still treated me behind the scenes for what I was- a clerk. It was no good throwing money around. You could see them saying, don't kid us, we know what you are, why don't you go back where you came from" (pg14). This shows that society is divided into different classes which are in conflict with each other. Clegg feels as though he is being looked down upon and is very conscious of his inferior education. Clegg blames the class system as part of the cause for his own isolation. Clegg blames his lack of success with Miranda as being partially the result of the different classes to which they belong and because of this we are able to see that he has a sense of class consciousness, and part of him is dominated by his class inferiority. "She often went on about how she hated class distinction, but she never took me in. You could see it when she got sarcastic and impatient with me because I couldn't explain myself" (pg41). We get the notion that he believes in class inferiority and sees this as a barrier between him and Miranda, because of this we are able to sympathise towards him.

Psychology is the science of the mind; the study of why people, and animals, behave as they do. John Fowles has explored the minds of two people, Clegg and Miranda, abnormal and normal respectively. Clegg's retrospective account dominates...
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