The Wasp Factory

by

Iain Banks

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Francis “Frank” Leslie Cauldhame / Frances Lesley Cauldhame Character Analysis

The protagonist and narrator. Frank is the child of Angus and Agnes, the brother of Paul and the half-brother of Eric. Frank sees himself as abnormal but essentially sane. He believes he is governed by logic and reason, even as readers see that many of his decisions are the result of obsessive-compulsive tendencies, psychopathy, or superstition. Still, Frank is bright and manipulative, and is therefore able to conceal his true self from almost everyone in his life. On the outside Frank seems to be a strange, antisocial teen. However, he is secretly obsessed with ritual and sacrifice, and is also incredibly violent—over the course of his short life has murdered three children and countless animals. Frank only truly cares for two people in his life (other than himself): his friend Jamie, and his brother, Eric. Frank loved Eric before his accident, and continues to love him after, although his love is now tainted by fear. In the final chapters of the novel Frank discovers that he was born a girl named Frances. Angus has been feeding Frances male hormones as an experiment since Old Saul mauled Frances at the age of three. After this revelation, Frances begins to consider how she used violence to assert her perceived lost masculinity, and how she killed because she believed she could never procreate. However, once she fully understands who she is and what happened to her, Frances is able to move forward as a woman.

Francis “Frank” Leslie Cauldhame / Frances Lesley Cauldhame Quotes in The Wasp Factory

The The Wasp Factory quotes below are all either spoken by Francis “Frank” Leslie Cauldhame / Frances Lesley Cauldhame or refer to Francis “Frank” Leslie Cauldhame / Frances Lesley 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 1 Quotes

‘I hope you weren’t out killing any of God’s creatures.’

I shrugged at him again. Of course I was out killing things. How the hell am I supposed to get heads and bodies for the Poles and the Bunker if I don’t kill things? There just aren’t enough natural deaths. You can’t explain that sort of thing to people, though.

‘Sometimes I think you’re the one who should be in the hospital, not Eric.’ He was looking at me from under his dark brows, his voice low. Once, that sort of talk would have scared me, but not now. I’m nearly seventeen, and not a child. Here in Scotland I’m old enough to get married without my parent’s permission, and have been for a year. There wouldn’t be much point to me getting married perhaps — I’ll admit that — but the principle is there.

Besides, I’m not Eric; I’m me and I’m here and that’s all there is to it. I don’t bother people and they had best not bother me if they know what’s good for them. I don’t go giving people presents of burning dogs, or frighten the local toddlers with handfuls of maggots and mouthfuls of worms. The people in the town may say ‘Oh, he’s not all there, you know,’ but that’s just their little joke (and sometimes, to rub it in, they don’t point to their heads as they say it); I don’t mind. I’ve learned to live with my disability, and learned to live without other people, so it’s no skin off my nose.

Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

I thought again of the Sacrifice Poles; more deliberately this time, picturing each one in turn, remembering their positions and their components, seeing in my mind what those sightless eyes looked out to, and flickering through each view like a security guard changing cameras on a monitor screen. I felt nothing amiss; all seemed well. My dead sentries, those extensions of me which came under my power through the simple but ultimate surrender of death, sensed nothing to harm me or the island.

I opened my eyes and put the bedside light back on. I looked at myself in the mirror on the dressing-table over on the other side of the room. I was lying on top of the bed-covers, naked apart from my underpants.

I’m too fat. It isn’t that bad, and it isn’t my fault – but, all the same, I don’t like the way I’d like to look. Chubby, that’s me. Strong and fit, but still too plump. I want to look dark and menacing; the way I ought to look, the way I should look, the way I might have looked if I hadn’t had my little accident. Looking at me, you’d never guess I’d killed three people. It isn’t fair.

Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

I realise that you can never really win against the water; it will always triumph in the end, seeping and soaking and building up and undermining and overflowing. All you can really do is construct something that will divert it or block its way for a while; persuade it to do something it doesn’t really want to do. The pleasure comes from the elegance of the compromise you strike between where the water wants to go (guided by gravity and the medium it’s moving over) and what you want to do with it.

Actually I think life has few pleasures to compare with dam-building. Give me a good broad beach with a reasonable slope and not too much seaweed, and a fair-sized stream, and I’ll be happy all day, any day.

Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

…it was a Sign. I was sure of that. The whole fraught episode must signify something. My automatic response might just have had something to do with the fire that the Factory had predicted, but deep inside I knew that that wasn’t all there was to it, and that there was more to come. The sign was in the whole thing, not just the unexpected ferocity of the buck I’d killed, but also in my furious, almost unthinking response and the fate of the innocent rabbits who took the brunt of my wrath.
It also meant something looking back as well as forward. The first time I murdered it was because of rabbits meeting a fiery death, and meeting that fiery death from the nozzle of a Flame-thrower virtually identical to the one I had used to exact my revenge on the warren. It was all too close and perfect. Events were shaping up faster and worse than I could have expected. I was in danger of losing control of the situation. The Rabbit Grounds – that supposed happy hunting-ground – had shown it could happen.
From the smaller to the greater, the patterns always hold true, and the Factory has taught me to watch out for them and respect them.

Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

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 3 Quotes

My greatest enemies are Women and the Sea. These things I hate. Women because they are weak and stupid and live in the shadow of men and are nothing compared to them, and the Sea because it has always frustrated me, destroying what I have built, washing away what I have left, wiping clean the marks I have made. And I’m not at all sure the Wind is blameless, either.

The Sea is a sort of mythological enemy, and I make what you might call sacrifices to it in my soul, fearing it a little, respecting it as you’re supposed to, but in many ways treating it as an equal. It does things to the world, and so do I; we should both be feared. Women…well, women are a bit too close for comfort as far as I’m concerned. I don’t even like having them on the island, not even Mrs Clamp, who comes every week on a Saturday to clean the house and deliver our supplies. She’s ancient, and sexless the way the very old and the very young are, but she’ll still been a woman, and I resent that, for my own good reason.

Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

I went into town that day, bought an extra plastic model of a Jaguar, made the kit up that afternoon and ceremonially blew it to pieces on the roof of the Bunker with a small pipe-bomb. Two weeks later a Jaguar crashed into the sea of Nairn, though the pilot ejected in time. I’d like to think the Power was working then, but I suspect it was coincidence; high-performance jets crash so often it was no real surprise my symbolic and their real destruction came within a fortnight of each other.

Page Number: 45
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 killed little Esmerelda because I felt I owed it to myself and to the world in general. I had, after all, accounted for two male children and thus done womankind something of a statistical favour. If I really had the courage of my convictions, I reasoned, I ought to redress the balance at least slightly. My cousin was simply the easiest and most obvious target.

Again, I bore her no personal ill-will. Children aren’t real people, in the sense that they are not small males and females but a separate species which will (probably) grow into one or the other in due time.

Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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:

I lay in bed. Soon I would have to try some long-range fixing of this problem. It was the only way. I’d have to try to influence things through the root cause of it all: Old Saul himself. Some heavy medicine was required if Eric wasn’t to wreck single-handedly the entire Scottish telephone network and decimate the country’s canine population. First, though, I would have to consult the Factory again.

It wasn’t exactly my fault, but I was totally involved, and I might just be able to do something about it, with the skull of the ancient hound, the Factory’s help and a little luck. How susceptible my brother would be to whatever vibes I could send out was a question I didn’t like too much to think about, given the state of his head, but I had to do something.

I hoped the little puppy had got well away. Dammit, I didn’t hold all dogs to blame for what happened. Old Saul was the culprit, Old Saul had gone down in our history and my personal mythology as the Castraitor, but thanks to the little creatures who flew the creek I had him in my power now.

Eric was crazy all right, even if he was my brother. He was lucky to have somebody sane who still liked him.

Related Symbols: Old Saul’s Skull
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Before I realised the birds were my occasional allies, I used to do unkind things to them: fish for them, shoot them, tie them to stakes at low tide, put electrically detonated bombs under their nests, and so on.

My favourite game was capturing two using bait and a net, then tying them together. Usually they were gulls and I tied thick orange nylon fishing-line to a leg each, then sat on a dune and watched. Sometimes I would have a gull and a crow but, whether they were the same species or not, they quickly found out they couldn’t fly properly – though the twine was long enough in theory – and ended up (after a few hilariously clumsy aerobatics) fighting.

With one dead, though, the survivor – usually injured – wasn’t really any better off, attached to a heavy corpse instead of a live opponent. I have seen a couple of determined ones peck the leg off their defeated adversary, but most were unable, or didn’t think of it, and got caught by the rats during the night.

I had other games, but that one always struck me as one of my more mature inventions; symbolic somehow, and with a nice blend of callousness and irony.

Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

‘I’ve told you; he’s crazy but he’s very cunning. He’s not stupid. He was always very bright, right from the start. He was reading early and getting all his relations and uncles and aunts to say “Och, they’re old so young these days” and things like that before I was even born.’

‘But he is insane, all the same.’

‘That’s what they say, but I don’t know.’

‘What about the dogs? And the maggots?’

‘OK, that looks pretty crazy, I’ll admit, but sometimes I think maybe he’s up to something, maybe he’s not really crazy after all. Perhaps he just got fed up acting normal and decided to act crazy instead, and they locked him up because he went too far.’

‘And he’s mad at them,’ Jamie grinned, drinking his pint as I annihilated various dodging, mulit-coloured spacecraft on the screen. I laughed. ‘Yeah, if you like. Oh, I don’t know. Maybe he really is crazy. Maybe I am. Maybe everybody is. Or at least all of my family.’

Now you’re talking.’

I looked up at him for a second, then smiled. ‘It does occur to me sometimes. My dad’s an eccentric…I suppose I am, too.’ I shrugged, concentrated on the space battle again. ‘But it doesn’t bother me. There are a lot madder people about the place.’

Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

‘The madder people. A lot of them seem to be leaders of countries or religions or armies. The real loonies.’

‘Aye, I suppose.’ I said thoughtfully, watching the battle on the screen upside down. ‘Or maybe they’re the only sane ones. After all, they’re the ones with all the power and riches. They’re the ones who get everybody else to do what they want them to do... So, given things being the way they are, who’s to say they’re the loonies because they don’t do things the way Joe Punter thinks they ought to be done? If they thought the same way as Joe Punter, they’d be Joe Punter, and somebody else would be having all the fun.’

‘Survival of the fittest.’

Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

All our lives are symbols. Everything we do is part of a pattern we have at least some say in. The strong make their own patterns and influence other people’s, the weak have their courses mapped out for them. The weak and the unlucky, and the stupid. The Wasp Factory is part of the pattern because it is a part of life and – even more so – part of death. Like life it is complicated, so all the components are there. The reason it can answer questions is because every question is a start looking for an end, and the Factory is about the End – death, no less. Keep your entrails and sticks and dice and books and birds and voices and pendants and all the rest of that crap; I have the Factory, and it’s about now and the future; not the past.

Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

… I would try to contact Eric through the skull of Old Saul. We are brothers, after all, even if only half so, and we are both men, even if I am only half so. At some deep level we understand each other, even though he is mad and I am sane. We even had that link I had not thought of until recently, but which might come in useful now: we have both killed, and used our heads to do it.

It occurred to me then, as it has before, that that is what men are really for. Both sexes can do one thing specially well; women can give birth and men can kill. We – I consider myself an honorary man – are the harder sex. We strike out, push through, thrust and take. The fact that it is only an analogue of all this sexual terminology I am capable of does not discourage me. I can feel it in my bones, in my uncastrated genes. Eric must respond to that.

Related Symbols: Old Saul’s Skull
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

…[Eric] had been too much for me. The conflagration in his head was just too strong for anybody sane to cope with. It had a lunatic strength of total commitment about it which only the profoundly mad are continually capable of, and the most ferocious soldiers and most aggressive sportsmen able to emulate for a while. Every particle of Eric’s brain was concentrated on his mission of returning and setting fire, and no normal brain – not even mine, which was far from normal and more powerful than most – could match that marshaling of forces. Eric was committed to total War, a Jihad; he was riding the Divine Wind to at least his own destruction, and there was nothing I could do about it this way.

Related Symbols: Old Saul’s Skull
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

We played some stories out: brave soldiers in the dunes and fighting, winning and fighting and fighting and sometimes dying. Those were the only times he deliberately hurt me, when his stories required his own heroic death and I would take it all too seriously as he lay expiring on the grass or the sands, having just blown up the bridge or the dam or the enemy convoy and like as not saved me from death, too; I would choke back tears and punch him lightly as I tried to change the story myself and he refused, slipping away from me and dying; too often dying.

When he had his migraines – sometimes lasting days – I lived on the edge, taking cool drinks and some food up to the darkened room on the second floor, creeping in, standing and shaking sometimes if he moaned and shifted on the bed. I was wretched while he suffered, and nothing meant anything; the games and the stories seemed stupid and pointless, and only throwing stones at bottles or seagulls made much sense. I went out fishing for gulls, determined things other than Eric should suffer: when he recovered it was like him coming back for the summer all over again, and I was irrepressible.

Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:

I remember I used to despise sheep for being so profoundly stupid. I’d seen them eat and eat and eat, I’d watched dogs outsmart whole flocks of them, I’d chased them and laughed at the stupid way they ran, watched them get themselves into all sorts of stupid, tangled situations, and I’d thought they quite deserved to end up as mutton, and that being used as wool-making machines was too good for them. It was years, and a long slow process, before I eventually realised just what sheep really represented: not their own stupidity, but our power, our avarice and egotism.

After I’d come to understand evolution and know a little about history and farming, I saw that the thick white animals I laughed at for following each other around and getting caught in bushes were the product of generations of farmers as much as generations of sheep; we made them, we moulded them from the wild, smart survivors that were their ancestors so that they would become docile, frightened, stupid, tasty wool-producers. We didn’t want them to be smart, and to some extent their aggression and their intelligence went together. Of course, the rams are brighter, but even they are demeaned by the idiotic females they have to associate with and inseminate.

The same principle applies to chickens and cows and almost anything we’ve been able to get our greedy, hungry hands on for long enough. It occasionally occurs to me that something the same might have happened to women but, attractive though the theory might be, I suspect I’m wrong.

Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

It always annoyed me that Eric went crazy. Although it wasn’t an on-off thing, sane one minute, mad the next, I don’t think there is much doubt that the incident with the smiling child triggered something in Eric that led, almost inevitably, to his fall. Something in him could not accept what had happened, could not fit in what he had seen with the way he thought things ought to be…

Whatever it was that disintegrated in Eric then, it was a weakness, a fundamental flaw that a real man should not have had. Women, I know from watching hundreds – maybe thousands – of films and television programmes, cannot withstand really major things happening to them; they get raped or their loved one dies, and they go to pieces, go crazy and commit suicide, or just pine away until they die. Of course, I realise that not all of them will react that way, but obviously it’s the rule, and the ones who don’t obey it are in the minority.

There must be a few strong women, women with more man in their character than most, and I suspect that Eric was the victim of a self with just a little too much of the woman in it. That sensitivity, that desire not to hurt people, that delicate, mindful brilliance – these things were his partly because he thought too much like a woman. Up until his nasty experience it never really bothered him, but just at that moment, in that extremity of circumstance, it was enough to break him.

Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

I want to laugh or cry or both, as I sit here, thinking about my own life, my three deaths. Four deaths now, in a way, now that my father’s truth has murdered what I was.

But I am still me; I am the same person, with the same memories and the same deeds done, the same (small) achievements, the same (appalling) crimes to my name.

Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

Perhaps I murdered for revenge in each case, jealously exacting – through the only potency at my command – a toll from those who passed within my range; my peers who each would otherwise have grown into the one thing I could never become: an adult.

Lacking, as one might say, one will, I forged another; to lick my own wound, I cut them off, reciprocating in my angry innocence the emasculation I could not then fully appreciate, but somehow – through the attitudes of others perhaps – sensed as an unfair, irrecoverable loss. Having no purpose in life or procreation, I invested all my worth in that grim opposite, and so found a negative and a negation of the fecundity only others could lay claim to… I would find or make my own weapons, and my victims would be those most recently produced by the one act I was incapable of; my equals in that, while they possessed the potential for generation, they were at that point no more able to perform the required act than I was. Talk about penis envy.

Now it turns out to have been for nothing. There was no revenge that needed taking, only a lie, a trick that should have been exposed, a disguise which even from the inside I should have seen through, but in the end did not want to. I was proud; eunuch but unique; a fierce and noble presence in my lands, a crippled warrior, a fallen prince…

Now I find I was the fool all along.

Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:

Believing in my great hurt, my literal cutting off from society’s mainland, it seems to me that I took life in a sense too seriously, and the lives of others, for the same reason, too lightly. The murders were my own conception; my sex. The Factory was my attempt to construct life, to replace the involvement which otherwise I did not want.

Well, it is always easier to succeed at death.

Inside this greater machine, things are not quite so cut and dried (or cut and pickled) as they have appeared in my experience. Each of us, in our own personal Factory, may believe we have stumbled down one corridor, and that our fate is sealed and certain (dream or nightmare, humdrum or bizarre, good or bad), but a word, a glance, a slip – anything can change that, alter it entirely, and our marble hall becomes a gutter, our rat-maze a golden path. Our destination is the same in the end, but our journey – part chosen, part determined – is different for us all, and changes even as we live and grow. I thought one door had snicked shut behind me years ago; in fact I was still crawling about the face. Now the door closes, and my journey begins.

Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
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Francis “Frank” Leslie Cauldhame / Frances Lesley Cauldhame Character Timeline in The Wasp Factory

The timeline below shows where the character Francis “Frank” Leslie Cauldhame / Frances Lesley Cauldhame appears in The Wasp Factory. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Sacrifice Poles
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The book opens on the day that Frank and his father, Angus, are informed that Eric, Frank’s brother, has escaped from the mental... (full context)
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Frank sees the town policeman, Diggs, cross the bridge from the mainland to Frank’s island. He... (full context)
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Frank uses a catapult to fire a ball bearing across the river separating his island from... (full context)
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Frank wonders if, when he returns home, Angus will tell him the truth about his interaction... (full context)
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Frank returns home in the early evening. He notices that Angus looks worried, but thinks he... (full context)
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Angus serves Frank soup and sits at the far end of the kitchen table. Frank observes his father,... (full context)
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Angus asks Frank how tall the table is. Frank answers it is thirty inches, and Angus corrects him,... (full context)
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Frank was homeschooled by Angus, who taught him a mixture of facts and total lies. Only... (full context)
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Angus says he hopes Frank wasn’t out killing animals. Frank doesn’t answer, but thinks to himself that of course he... (full context)
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Angus remarks that sometimes he thinks Frank, not Eric, should be in the hospital. Frank thinks that this once would have scared... (full context)
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Frank knows Angus is also nervous about Eric coming home, because any police investigations into the... (full context)
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Angus goes to bed. Frank thinks about his father’s study — the one room in the house he’s never been in... (full context)
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Frank hears the phone ring, and answers it. It’s Eric. At first, Eric repeats everything Frank... (full context)
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Frank goes to bed. He reviews the Sacrifice Poles in his mind, examining each “like a... (full context)
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Frank looks in the mirror. He’s naked aside from his underwear. He wishes he were “strong... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Snake Park
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The next morning Frank visits the Poles. Most are in good condition. He plants the burned remains of a... (full context)
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Frank provides a history of Mary Cauldhame, Eric’s mother. She died in childbirth, because Eric’s head... (full context)
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Frank remembers “the Factory said something about fire.” Although the obvious answer seems to be that... (full context)
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Frank is partially upset that Eric is coming back. Frank had wanted to have a make-believe... (full context)
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Frank returns home for lunch. Angus is going out, but Frank knows better than to ask... (full context)
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Frank eats lunch, and then goes out to the Rabbit Grounds. He brings his gun, although... (full context)
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As he walks to the rabbit grounds, Frank reflects on various relatives of his who have died: Leviticus Cauldhame, who was crushed by... (full context)
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Frank arrives at the Rabbit Grounds. He notes that local boys used to set snares there,... (full context)
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Frank spots a huge male rabbit, or buck, and aims his gun. He accidentally startles it... (full context)
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Frank returns home, trades his rifle for his War Bag, and jogs back to the Rabbit... (full context)
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Satisfied that his catapult is “avenged,” Frank re-christens the hill Black Destroyer Hill. Frank has a “lovely sated feeling,” and returns home,... (full context)
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Frank emotionlessly recalls another dead relative—his uncle Harmsworth Stove, who killed himself after Frank killed his... (full context)
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Back at home in bed that night, Frank wonders what the events of the day meant. The Factory has taught him to observe... (full context)
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Frank recalls the first time he killed another person. This act of violence was also related... (full context)
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In the present, Frank wakes from his reveries. He observes that Angus hasn’t returned home, but he isn’t concerned.... (full context)
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As he falls asleep, Frank thinks about the three murders he’s committed in his life: Blyth, then Paul, two years... (full context)
Chapter 3: In the Bunker
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Frank’s “greatest enemies are Women and the Sea.” He hates women because he believes them to... (full context)
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Frank prepares for the day. He goes through his daily ritual of cleaning himself. He notes... (full context)
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Frank leaves the house, and as he walks across the island a few jets fly overhead.... (full context)
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Frank goes to visit a sapling he has named the Killer. He recalls using it to... (full context)
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Frank visits the Bunker. The Bunker is an old concrete pillbox guard post, which formerly housed... (full context)
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As the candle burns, Frank reflects on the past few days. He then imagines an alternative version of himself, “a... (full context)
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Frank then begins a ritual—taking the cadaver of a wasp which has been through the Factory,... (full context)
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After his ritual, Frank returns home. Angus has returned and is chopping wood in the garden. Frank offers to... (full context)
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That afternoon, Frank rides into town on his bike. He buys some air-gun pellets and a new catapult.... (full context)
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Frank continues, explaining that after “Eric went crazy” it was harder to socialize in town. He... (full context)
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Frank returns home, and makes some bombs from his mixture of sugar and weed killer. He... (full context)
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Over dinner, Angus tells Frank that the police are searching for Eric on the moors. Angus asks Frank if he... (full context)
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After dinner, Frank watches television and amends his maps to include the newly named Black Destroyer Hill. He... (full context)
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Frank stays up until almost eleven, and is surprised to hear the phone ring. It’s Eric.... (full context)
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Frank checks in on Eric—is he eating right, how is he getting around? Eric insists he... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Bomb Circle
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Frank thinks of himself as “a state; a country or, at the very least, a city.”... (full context)
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Frank admits that there was no need to murder the rabbits. “Like the death penalty, you... (full context)
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Frank conducts a naming ceremony for his catapult, smearing it with “earwax, snot, blood, urine, belly-button... (full context)
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Frank goes for a run. He jogs, then springs to the Bomb Circle, where he collapses... (full context)
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Frank reflects on Paul’s death. Frank was eight when he killed Paul, who was only five.... (full context)
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Frank always treated Paul well (perhaps, Frank thinks in hindsight, because he knew he would kill... (full context)
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Frank pretended to be distraught over Paul’s death. He didn’t mind play-acting, but did feel guilty... (full context)
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That night, Frank goes into to town. He meets his only friend, Jamie, at the Cauldhame Arms, a... (full context)
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Frank tells Jamie about Eric’s escape. Jamie is surprised that Frank isn’t more panicked. Frank explains... (full context)
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Once the music has started, Frank and Jamie dance. Jamie is still on Frank’s shoulders, and although Frank doesn’t like girls,... (full context)
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Frank is unhappy at the end of the night when Jamie finds a girl to talk... (full context)
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The girl asks if Jamie always sits on Frank’s shoulders. Jamie says yes, and jokes that in the bathroom he pees into the tank... (full context)
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Frank, in addition to being nauseated, also needs to pee. He doesn’t want to pee in... (full context)
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Frank starts to vomit, and Jamie helps support him, holding him in his arms when it’s... (full context)
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Frank sobers up at Jamie’s house, and then walks home around one in the morning. As... (full context)
Chapter 5: A Bunch of Flowers
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Frank explains that he killed Esmerelda because, after killing two boys, he felt he had to... (full context)
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Frank sensed that Esmerelda’s parents were suspicious of him, but they let Esmerelda visit the island... (full context)
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That summer Frank made many kites, and took Esmerelda with him. This gave him his fatal idea. Secretly, he... (full context)
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Frank knew that the fact of three nearby deaths was suspicious, so he planned out his... (full context)
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Hung-over, Frank spends Sunday in bed. When he eventually comes downstairs, Angus criticizes him for drinking. That... (full context)
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Eric pretends to be Frank, frustrating his brother. In turn, Eric is frustrated that Frank isn’t playing his game, and... (full context)
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Frank thinks he can hear a dog in the phone booth from which Eric is calling.... (full context)
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Frank believes Eric to be crazy, but still cares for him, and remarks Eric is “lucky... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Skull Grounds
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When Frank was three his mother, Agnes, who had been absent his entire life, returned to the... (full context)
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...behind. Angus tried to stop her, but she ran over his leg and took off. Frank remarks sourly that after only two weeks on the island Agnes “left one dead, one... (full context)
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Old Saul’s skull was buried on a hill behind the house, which Frank eventually named the Skull Grounds. Angus claimed to have cut Old Saul open and retrieved... (full context)
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Frank believes “Paul, of course, was Saul.” The spirit of the dog “transferred” to the boy.... (full context)
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Frank had to kill his pet gerbils, mice, and hamsters so he could find Old Saul’s... (full context)
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Still, Frank notes that his “enemy is twice dead,” and yet he remains less than “a full... (full context)
Chapter 7: Space Invaders
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Frank recalls how he used to play horrible games with birds — shooting them, blowing them up,... (full context)
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Tuesday morning Frank bikes into town to meet with Jamie. Jamie doesn’t understand, if Eric is so crazy,... (full context)
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Jamie and Frank play the arcade game Space Invaders and continue to talk. Frank remarks that there are... (full context)
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Frank bikes back to the island. He spends the afternoon tidying up the loft that holds... (full context)
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Frank catches a wasp to use in the Factory. Then he builds a dam in a... (full context)
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Frank explains, “all our lives are symbols. Everything we do is part of a pattern we... (full context)
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Frank is certain the Wasp Factory will give him a sense of the future. Then he... (full context)
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Frank has a theory that “both sexes can do one thing specially well; women can give... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Wasp Factory
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The next day, early in the morning, Frank does his morning ritual and goes upstairs to the Factory. He sets the jar with... (full context)
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Frank describes the Wasp Factory. It is the face of an old enormous public clock, a... (full context)
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Today, Frank’s wasp dies by petrol fire. He takes its charred body and puts it in a... (full context)
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In the Bunker, Frank thinks of Eric. He remembers who he was as a child — once “clever” and “kind,”... (full context)
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Frank places one hand on Old Saul’s skull, closes his eyes, and pictures Eric’s face. He... (full context)
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Frank falls asleep watching television. The phone wakes him some time later. He’s disappointed to find... (full context)
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Frank hangs up the phone and it rings again. He picks it up, assuming it’s Jamie,... (full context)
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...a minute shouting into the phone, and then switches into a calmer voice. He tells Frank he’s almost there, but won’t say where he is, only that he’s broken into somebody’s... (full context)
Chapter 9: What Happened to Eric
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The next day Frank visits his injured friend, Jamie. Frank then walks into the hills behind the town, where... (full context)
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Although Frank loves the island, he likes getting away from it sometimes to gain a sense of... (full context)
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Although Eric has undergone an “alternation” Frank still loves him. He compares this to how Eric loves him despite his “disability.” Frank... (full context)
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Eric primarily lived on the mainland until Frank was three, at which point he returned full time. Frank loved it when Eric was... (full context)
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When Eric left the island to train to become a doctor Frank was upset, but couldn’t blame his brother. He explains, “he was my brother, he was... (full context)
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When Eric returned after his first year away at school Frank could feel he had changed. He was now an adult playing with Frank, a child.... (full context)
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During Eric’s second year he had his “unfortunate experience.” Frank describes this as a complete reinvention of Eric’s personality — he was “satanically reversed,” “an adult... (full context)
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...his tutor’s office. Eric returned to the island but was not the same as before. Frank was suddenly frightened of him. At first, Eric would start fights in public or else... (full context)
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...increasingly secure facilities. But for a while he was calm, and now he has escaped. Frank suspects Eric was purposefully trying to “lull his keepers into a false sense of security.” (full context)
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From his perch on the mainland Frank looks out with his binoculars. He feels that Eric is nearby, but does not spot... (full context)
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Frank passes some sheep, and reflects that he used to hate sheep for their “profound stupid[ity].”... (full context)
Chapter 10: Running Dog
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Frank is annoyed that Eric lost his mind. He sees it as a “weakness, a fundamental... (full context)
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Frank resents Agnes for having Eric sent away during his early years. He also blames his... (full context)
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That night Frank goes to bed early. The next day, restless, Frank patrols the island. The day is... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Prodigal
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In the morning, Frank cleans himself and visits the loft. He dusts the altar, and adjusts the factory. He... (full context)
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After lunch, Frank feels cheerful and energetic. That night he continues to patrol the island, looking out with... (full context)
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Inside, the phone is hanging off the hook. Frank suspects Angus got a phone call, was surprised by it, and got drunk. Frank debates... (full context)
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Frank sits in his kitchen, waiting. In the early evening Angus calls incredibly drunk. He tells... (full context)
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Frank has fallen asleep waiting for Eric. He wakes up to the sound of someone moving... (full context)
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Inside the study Frank finds a specimen jar that holds a “tiny, torn set of male genitalia.” Seeing them,... (full context)
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Frank eventually regains his composure and looks around more carefully. Most of the items in the... (full context)
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Angus is sleeping in bed. Frank wakes him with two slaps to the face. Frank shows him the tampons and the... (full context)
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Frank is interrupted by screams and bleats outside, accompanied by a strange orange light. Looking out... (full context)
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Frank arrives outside to find Eric hacking at the cellar door with an axe. Frank yells... (full context)
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Frank goes back inside. The sheep have all died or burned out. Eric has disappeared. Angus... (full context)
Chapter 12: What Happened to Me
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Sunday morning, Frank recalls a dream he had the previous night. The dream was based on a scene... (full context)
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The previous night Angus told Frank the truth. Then the pair barricaded the cellar, looked around for Eric, and went to... (full context)
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Frank repeats what Angus explained last night. Frank is not Francis Leslie Cauldhame. Instead, Frank is... (full context)
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This is why Angus always cooked, and why Frances had a beard and no periods. Angus also added bromide to the food to keep... (full context)
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Frances explains “part of me still wants to believe it’s just his latest lie, but really... (full context)
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Frances considers the crimes of the past. Frances wonders if killing peers was a way to... (full context)
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Frances now feels the actions of the past were “for nothing. There was no revenge that... (full context)
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Frances explains that each person lives their life in his or her own personal Factory, and... (full context)
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Frances looks down at Eric, and thinks how funny that Eric has come home to see... (full context)