The Hooper family owns a vast collection of dead moths, which have been preserved, classified, and arranged in glass display cases. Edmund Hooper seems to enjoy looking through this collection, but Charles Kingshaw finds it utterly terrifying. As Hill describes them, moths are important symbols of the natural world, albeit a natural world that has been brought under the control of human beings. It’s no coincidence that Edmund finds the moths fascinating: Edmund is obsessed with the idea of asserting his power over others, and the sight of thousands of moths in their cases seems to appeal to his love for control. That Charles, on the other hand, is shown to be repulsed by the dead moths symbolizes his love of nature in its wild and unrestrained form—and his dread of the control Edmund wields over him.
Moths Quotes in I’m the King of the Castle
He stretched out his hand, put his finger under the head of the pin and slid it up, out of the thick, striped body. At once, the whole moth, already years dead, disintegrated, collapsing into a soft, formless heap of dark dust.
He imagined the furry body of the moth against the pads of Hooper's fingers. He was ashamed of being so afraid, and could not help it, he only wanted to get out, to stop having to see the terrible moths. Hooper watched him. There was a moment when they both stood, quite still, waiting. Then, Hooper whipped around and pushed past Kingshaw without warning he was out of the door, turning the key sharply in the lock. After a moment, his footsteps went away down the hall. A door closed somewhere.