The Wasp Factory

by

Iain Banks

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Frank’s best and only friend. Jamie is kind and ordinary, a stark contrast to Frank, who does not divulge any of his darkest secrets or strangest behavior to his friend. Jamie genuinely cares about Frank and his wellbeing, keeping up to date on his life and family, and helping him when he gets too drunk. On the flipside, Frank genuinely cares about Jamie, carrying the man, who has dwarfism, on his shoulders at music concerts, and even overcoming his own aversion to women if Jamie wants to talk or dance with one.

Jamie Quotes in The Wasp Factory

The The Wasp Factory quotes below are all either spoken by Jamie or refer to Jamie. 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 7 Quotes

‘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:
Get the entire The Wasp Factory LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Wasp Factory PDF

Jamie Character Timeline in The Wasp Factory

The timeline below shows where the character Jamie appears in The Wasp Factory. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: In the Bunker
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
...doesn’t know many people his own age. His only real friend is a man named Jamie. (full context)
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
...his room and watches Frank take the phone call. Frank pretends Eric is his friend Jamie. Angus accepts this and returns to bed. (full context)
Chapter 4: The Bomb Circle
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
That night, Frank goes into to town. He meets his only friend, Jamie, at the Cauldhame Arms, a hotel and music venue. He lets Jamie sit on his... (full context)
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Frank tells Jamie about Eric’s escape. Jamie is surprised that Frank isn’t more panicked. Frank explains that he... (full context)
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sexism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Once the music has started, Frank and Jamie dance. Jamie is still on Frank’s shoulders, and although Frank doesn’t like girls, he’ll dance... (full context)
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
Sexism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Frank is unhappy at the end of the night when Jamie finds a girl to talk to. Frank is also very drunk, and worries that he’ll... (full context)
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sexism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
The girl asks if Jamie always sits on Frank’s shoulders. Jamie says yes, and jokes that in the bathroom he... (full context)
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
...drunk to explain what he needs. Instead, he bolts down a side street, running until Jamie and the girl are out of sight. Jamie runs after him, and catches Frank as... (full context)
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sexism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Frank starts to vomit, and Jamie helps support him, holding him in his arms when it’s over, and wiping Frank’s mouth... (full context)
Ritual and Superstition  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
Frank sobers up at Jamie’s house, and then walks home around one in the morning. As he walks he remembers... (full context)
Chapter 5: A Bunch of Flowers
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
...up and listens to the phone call, causing Frank to pretend he is talking to Jamie. Eric angrily responds to this, asking Frank if he has forgotten his own brother’s name.... (full context)
Chapter 7: Space Invaders
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
Tuesday morning Frank bikes into town to meet with Jamie. Jamie doesn’t understand, if Eric is so crazy, why no one has caught him yet.... (full context)
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
Jamie and Frank play the arcade game Space Invaders and continue to talk. Frank remarks that... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Wasp Factory
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
...asleep watching television. The phone wakes him some time later. He’s disappointed to find it’s Jamie calling, not Eric. Jamie has hurt his foot and is off work for the week.... (full context)
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
Frank hangs up the phone and it rings again. He picks it up, assuming it’s Jamie, but this time it is Eric. Eric is immediately angry that Frank mistook him for... (full context)
Chapter 10: Running Dog
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
...pretends not to understand what Frank means.  Frank hangs up the phone, pretending it was Jamie when his father asks. That night he sleeps fitfully. (full context)