The Wasp Factory

by

Iain Banks

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Paul Cauldhame Character Analysis

Frank’s little brother, and the son of Agnes and an unknown man. Paul was born on the same day that Old Saul supposedly castrated Frank, and Frank believes that he is a reincarnation of the dog. Because of this, although Paul gives no indication that he is anything other than a happy, healthy, human child, Frank is compelled to murder him and free himself from the dog’s evil shadow.

Paul Cauldhame Quotes in The Wasp Factory

The The Wasp Factory quotes below are all either spoken by Paul Cauldhame or refer to Paul 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 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:

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 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:
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Paul Cauldhame Character Timeline in The Wasp Factory

The timeline below shows where the character Paul 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
...with a prosthetic), having lost it in a road accident. One day Blyth, Eric, and Paul, Frank’s little brother, were relaxing in a meadow. Blyth had taken off his prosthetic leg... (full context)
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
...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. Frank remarks... (full context)
Chapter 3: In the Bunker
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
...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
...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)
Ritual and Superstition  Theme Icon
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
...snot, blood, urine, belly-button fluff and toenail cheese.” He also crumples an old photograph of Paul around a ball bearing, and fires it into the ocean. He admits, “parts of me... (full context)
Ritual and Superstition  Theme Icon
Sexism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...the island twice, once to give birth to Frank and once to give birth to Paul(full context)
Ritual and Superstition  Theme Icon
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
Frank reflects on Paul’s death. Frank was eight when he killed Paul, who was only five. Frank held no... (full context)
Ritual and Superstition  Theme Icon
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
Frank always treated Paul well (perhaps, Frank thinks in hindsight, because he knew he would kill Paul young). One... (full context)
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Frank pretended to be distraught over Paul’s death. He didn’t mind play-acting, but did feel guilty about deceiving Eric, who he is... (full context)
Chapter 5: A Bunch of Flowers
Ritual and Superstition  Theme Icon
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Sanity and Insanity  Theme Icon
Sexism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...anyway. He knew it was risky to kill another child only a year after killing Paul, but he felt compelled to. Frank describes the feelings as “an itch, something I had... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Skull Grounds
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sexism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...blood on his jaws. Angus strangled Old Saul, just as, upstairs, Agnes gave birth to Paul. (full context)
Family and Friendship  Theme Icon
Sexism and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Two days later, Agnes left on her motorcycle, leaving Paul behind. Angus tried to stop her, but she ran over his leg and took off.... (full context)
Ritual and Superstition  Theme Icon
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Frank believes “Paul, of course, was Saul.” The spirit of the dog “transferred” to the boy. That’s why... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Wasp Factory
Ritual and Superstition  Theme Icon
Control, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
...— the skull of the snake that killed Blyth, a fragment of the bomb that killed Paul, a piece of fabric from the kite that killed Esmerelda, some of Old Saul’s teeth. ... (full context)