The Wasp Factory

by

Iain Banks

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Blyth Cauldhame Character Analysis

Frank and Eric’s cousin. Blyth would spend the summers visiting and terrorizing the island. Rude and violent, one year Blyth used a flamethrower to massacre Frank and Eric’s pet rabbits. This devastated Eric and enraged Frank, who vowed to take revenge. The next summer, Blyth returned. He had lost his leg in a car accident and now wore a prosthetic, and was even more aggressive than before. Frank hid an adder in Blyth’s hollow leg while his cousin slept, swiftly killing him.

Blyth Cauldhame Quotes in The Wasp Factory

The The Wasp Factory quotes below are all either spoken by Blyth Cauldhame or refer to Blyth Cauldhame. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Ritual and Superstition  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Wasp Factory published in 1998.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Eric in particular was very upset. He cried like a girl. I wanted to kill Blyth there and then; the hiding he got from his father, my dad’s brother James, was not enough as far as I was concerned, not for what he’d done to Eric, my brother. Eric was inconsolable, desperate with grief because he had made the thing Blyth had used to destroy our beloved pets. He always was a bit sentimental, always the sensitive one, the bright one; until his nasty experience everybody was sure he would go far. Anyway, that was the start of the Skull Grounds, the area of the big, old, partially earthed-over dune behind the house where all our pets went when they died. The burned rabbits started that. Old Saul was before them, but that was just a one-off thing.

Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

The rocks of the Bomb Circle usually get me thinking and this time was no exception, especially considering the way I’d lain down inside them like some Christ or something, opened to the sky dreaming of death. Well, Paul went about as quickly as you can go; I was certainly humane that time. Blyth had lots of time to realise what was happening, jumping about the Snake Park screaming as the frantic and enraged snake bit his stump repeatedly, and little Esmerelda must have had some inkling what was going to happen to her as she was slowly blown away.

My brother Paul was five when I killed him. I was eight. It was over two years after I had subtracted Blyth with an adder that I found an opportunity to get rid of Paul. Not that I bore him any personal ill-will; it was simply that I knew he couldn’t stay. I knew I’d never be free of the dog until he was gone (Eric, poor well-meaning bright but ignorant Eric, thought I still wasn’t, and I just couldn’t tell him why I was).

Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

I had decided I would try to murder Esmerelda before she and her parents even arrived for their holiday. Eric was away on a school cruise, so there would only be me and her. It would be risky, so soon after Paul’s death, but I had to do something to even up the balance. I could feel it in my guts, in my bones; I had to. It was like an itch, something I had no way of resisting, like when I walk along a pavement in Porteneil and I accidentally scuff one heel on a paving stone. I have to scuff the other foot as well, with near as possible the same weight, to feel good again… In a whole range of ways like that I try to keep balanced, though I have no idea why. It is simply something that must be done; and, in the same way, I had to get rid of some woman, tip the scales back in the other direction.

Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:
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Blyth Cauldhame Character Timeline in The Wasp Factory

The timeline below shows where the character Blyth Cauldhame appears in The Wasp Factory. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Snake Park
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
Sexism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...killed another person. This act of violence was also related to rabbits—one summer his cousin, Blyth, was visiting and murdered Frank and Eric’s pet rabbits with a flamethrower that Eric had... (full context)
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
The next summer Blyth returned. Still unpleasant, he was now missing his left leg below the knee (replaced with... (full context)
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
As he falls asleep, Frank thinks about the three murders he’s committed in his life: Blyth, then Paul, two years later, and then his little cousin Esmerelda the year after that.... (full context)
Chapter 3: In the Bunker
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
...altogether. Plus, Frank suspects that many parents guessed about his connection to the deaths of Blyth, Paul, and Esmerelda. (full context)
Chapter 4: The Bomb Circle
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
...“lots of different people inside my brain.” Frank feels a little guilty about having killed Blyth, Paul and Esmerelda. Similarly, a part of him feels guilty for massacring the rabbits. (full context)
Chapter 8: The Wasp Factory
Ritual and Superstition  Theme Icon
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
...on an alter decorated with other powerful objects — the skull of the snake that killed Blyth, a fragment of the bomb that killed Paul, a piece of fabric from the kite... (full context)