In “The Wasp Factory”, the penis is seen as a symbol that frees men from seeking their own personality as it talks for itself. Frank’s deprivation of this “symbol of manhood” causes him a lack of identity, which in its turn, trigger a sex pursuit, as he dedicates his life to replace it and to out-man others. This is ironic as when he thinks he’s got his world perfectly figured out, he realizes he’s a woman, which profoundly questions the significance of “manhood” as we discover its fragility and emptiness, and how following man’s pattern is only a way of evading maturity and the learning of our own personality.
Frank’s narrow perspective of life through the Wasp Factory, free him from the responsibility of deciphering his own personality as it determines specific patterns to follow, equivalent to manhood’s empty one.
“Lacking, as one might say, one will, I forged another”: Frank’s lack of penis sets in motion his own life perspective as he thinks it’s his duty to forge and balance his “manhood” in order to be parallel to society’s model of it, yet as he is alienated from conventional “man”, he takes his own life too seriously and consequently the life of others too lightly; he bears resentful feelings about the world and society, which makes him feel life is in debt with him, and his notion of a “balance” in life applies by responding to his own pain by inflicting pain on others. The responses to his vision of the insignificance of others’ life, life’s debt with him, and his need of restoring a balance, all sum up into Frank’s response to his lack of penis: killing. However, he disengages from any responsibility by seeing the world through the Wasp Factory and therefore, he thinks, through death: “the factory is about the End – death, no less” (It’s interesting to note here, although I’ll abound on this later, that Bank’s descriptions of Frank’s precious objects of the past such as Old Saul’s teeth, the skull of the snake, other fragments that symbolize...
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