John Fowles’s Novel “The Collector”

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According to psychologist Andrew Newberg, words can change someone’s brain. He says that one single word can influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress. (Newberg, 2015). In the novel, Miranda a highly educated girl from a wealthy family uses a diary to keep words as memories. She is intelligent enough to note that words people use to describe ideas, events or concepts are inferior lacking enough description and are only used as ways to conform reality. On the other side, Clegg is just a boy that loves Miranda so much and even had plans to kidnap and put Miranda in his cellar. A diary’s words change Clegg after he discovers that Miranda does not love him back. Clegg’s unique personality is not to blame. The writer tells us that he has the sociopathic disorder. It shows us that Clegg is sick and you cannot blame a sick person’s action. The sociopathic disorder is a mental condition in which a person has a long pattern of manipulating or violating the rights of others. This disorder troubled Clegg after kidnapping Miranda for a month. That also destructed the people around him. He has an awkward feeling of power and control that is otherwise entirely missing from his life. His relationship with Miranda before reading the diary was good. In the novel, the author says that Clegg could watch Miranda enter and leave the house across the street from the town hall in which he worked. How a child is raised contributes so much to his/her adult life. Apparently, the absence of Clegg's parents during his childhood is what led to him being psychologically scared. It continued and later on affecting his adult life. He did not grow up with his parents. Therefore, he lacks the parental affection every child should have. In the text, it is seen that his hobby was collecting butterflies. He grew up with butterflies as his closest companion which he came to be referred to as a butterfly collector that maybe led to his unique personality. His personality did not only affect him but also affected the people around him. Here he saw Miranda as the beautiful butterfly and wished to collect her and keep her as he did to the butterflies. (Fowles, 23). The words in Miranda’s diary “crude, so terribly primitive to a drawing, painting, and sculpture” (Fowles, 158).Words build and also words destroy. Miranda’s words killed Clegg at first before Clegg turning back to kill her. Clegg compares the disappearance of his parents to the people he loves. He becomes so attached to a person as per his personality that he happened to have developed when he used to collect butterflies.  He becomes attached to feel safe. He ends up treating Miranda like one of his butterflies. The writer describes the process of catching a butterfly as hard. ‘It was like not having a net and capturing the specimen you wanted if your first and second finger, coming up slowly behind and you had it, but you had to nip the thorax, and it would be quivering there’(Flowles, 40). He says that Miranda was twice as difficult. “I thought I had better think it over first and then, in any case, I found the diary” (Fowles, 308). It shows that even before he read the newspaper, he was unsure of Miranda view of him, but it had not affected him from before. Words are sometimes better left unsaid. He was okay before he read the diary. He only changed after reading it. He is represented as an evil man and an abductor.  Miranda is kidnapped because of the words in her diary. Clegg drives her to his house and forces her to the basement. She is promised to be freed after a month of captivity but goes back on his promise after Miranda tells him she does not love him. John Fowless narrates the encounter and what she did to her before killing her, and it comes out so evil and criminal. Miranda catches pneumonia and desperately wants to be set free. In conclusion, words have incredible impacts on someone’s life. I agree with Joyce text that although the background might have affected his personality, the words from Miranda’s diary had a much more impact on Clegg’s life. After reading the diary, Clegg realizes that he might not win Miranda’s, heart. It makes him plan her death, but after her death, he learns that he should do things differently.  It supports the notion that words have a significant impact on the behavior of a person. They influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress. Clegg ends up neither wanting Miranda nor wanting to free her. Therefore it is not wrong to say that it was the impact of her words that killed her. Therefore, one should not any word for granted but consider its meaningfulness and the relevance in different perspectives
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John Fowles’s novel "The Collector". (2019, Oct 10). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from

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