the collector by r6IfAL

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									                                        The Butterfly Effect

The English novelist John Fowles died recently, aged 79. Widely known for his self-reflexive take
on Victorian fiction, The French Lieutenant‘s Woman, and The Magus, a lengthy tale of
psychological game playing on the Greek island of Spetsai, Fowles was a writer who always
seemed content to remain in the shadows, on the edge of things. He would emerge now and again to
play the part of the cantankerous recluse, but he was, in essence a private, even hermetic man.

Fowles lived for more than forty years on the South Coast of England in the small town of Lyme
Regis, far from the cosseted, closeted, Metropolitan literary elite in London. It was there, in Lyme,
that Fowles, in his own particular manner, produced a series of novels and essays notable for their
philosophical introspection, their psychological richness, and their stretching of the boundaries of
what is possible in storytelling.

Although I consider both The French Lieutenant‘s Women and The Magus to be remarkable novels,
to my mind, Fowles‟ single greatest achievement is his debut, The Collector, published in 1963. (In
fact The Collector was not the first book he wrote, that honour goes to The Magus, which was
eventually published in 1965.) The Collector established Fowles‟ reputation as a writer of what The
Sunday Times called, “great imaginative power.” Given that it was a commercial as well as a critical
success, he was able to give up his job as a teacher and concentrate on writing full-time. Short, at
least in comparison with some of his other books, and immediately engaging, The Collector works
by stealth, its creepiness slowly crowding you, until the experience of reading the novel becomes
almost as claustrophobic as the captivity in which one of the protagonists is held.

The Collector is the story of Frederick and Miranda. Frederick is a solitary, withdrawn clerk at the
local council who has won a large sum of money on the Football Pools. Uneducated and lonely, his
great passion in life is for collecting butterflies. He also likes photography. “I always wanted to do
photography, I got a camera at once of course, a Leica, the best, telephoto lens, the lot; the main
idea was to take butterflies living like the famous Mr S. Beaufoy; but also often before I used to
come on things out collecting, you‟d be surprised the things couples get up to in places you think
they would know better than to do it in, so I had that too.” Frederick has been watching Miranda, a
young art student, for a long time, ever since he caught sight of her at her boarding school opposite
the Town Hall where he worked. “I can‟t say what it was, the very first time I saw her, I knew she
was the only one. Of course, I am not mad, I knew it was just a dream and it always would have
been if it hadn‟t been for the money.” Frederick‟s winnings allow him to give up his job and buy a
secluded cottage in the Sussex countryside. One day he kidnaps Miranda and takes her there. He
imprisons her in the cellar which he has transformed into a small living space. Miranda is to be the
pride of his collection. From this moment on, the novel is a battle between the two characters,
prisoner and guard, naïve suitor and disgusted belle, a fascinating interplay between two people
with conflicting attitudes and expectations of life, a war between hope and derision, a clash between
two people who have no meeting point, no area of mutual interest. Frederick believes that Miranda
can, given time, come to love him. Once she has come to see him as he is, rather than through the
distorting lens of class, then their love will grow. Miranda eventually becomes aware that Frederick
is unable to see beyond his delusions, and that it is only by engaging in a game with her captor that
she may be able to escape him. She therefore employs a variety of tricks, all the while believing that
her superiority in every quarter (Miranda comes from a wealthy upper middle-class family) will
help her get away from him.

As is often the case with John Fowles, it is the way in which the story is told that provides much of
the pleasure. The first part of The Collector is narrated from Frederick‟s point of view, the second,
from Miranda‟s, in diary fragments. Frederick‟s detached rationality contrasts with Miranda‟s more
lyrical, questioning voice. Unlike the neutral, artless tone of Frederick‟s narration, Miranda‟s
account swings through several emotional states, marking moments of resolution and despair, of
terror, contempt and stultifying solitude. She laments “endless panic in slow motion,” indulges in
existential rage, “I hate God, I hate whatever made this world…if there‟s a God he‟s a great
loathsome spider in the dark,” and throws herself into flights of melancholic fancy:

             The essences. Not the things themselves.
             Swimmings of life on the smallest things.
             Or am I being sentimental?
             I‟m so far from everything. From normality. From light. From what I want
             to be.

Miranda decides to call Frederick Caliban, the name of a character in The Tempest. In
Shakespeare‟s play Miranda is the daughter of Prospero, a magician exiled to an island in the
Adriatic Sea. Caliban, the son of a witch, is a deformed monster who is desperate to have sex with
Miranda so as to populate the island. It is a cultural reference that would be lost on Frederick;
Miranda delights in knowing this. She cannot see how her captor can be anything other than
beneath her. The irony is of course that in their story together, he is the man with the key, the puller
of the strings; however much the caged bird thinks it might sing, only one person will decide if
anyone shall ever hear its tune.

Fowles‟ ability to create two such distinct voices is one of the great achievements of the novel. In
setting up his characters in opposition to one other we are of course invited to choose between them.
You would think that this is what the Americans call a “no-brainer” (and what the British are
beginning to call a “no-brainer” because they can‟t think of a better phrase.) But Fowles could
never be such an easy writer; that Miranda is not purely sympathetic, or Frederick a one-
dimensional, see-through villain, means The Collector moves beyond the confines of the traditional
thriller. As an example of what the novel can do if is utilised by a writer who has nothing but
respect for the form, The Collector is an essential starting point; and for anyone coming fresh to one
of the most original novelists of recent decades, there is no better place to begin.

(By the way, the film version with Terrence Stamp is worth watching for its marvellous mid 60s
feel when Britain was at it hippest, but is in no way equal to the book; unless of course you are
particularly attached to the youthful charms of Mr Stamp.)

                                         November 27, 2005

                                                                                     Garan Holcombe
                                                                  is a writer living in Madrid, Spain
The Collector
by John Fowles

A Review by C. P. Farley

It's no coincidence that Janet Jackson's revealing half time "show" and Mel Gibson's blood
drenched, neo-Medieval Passion play occurred at the same time. As a culture, we are becoming
increasingly unwilling to leave anything to the imagination. This is bad news for writers of
suspense, which relies on the reluctant fantasies of a baited imagination. Back in 1963, though,
when celebrated British novelist John Fowles was just getting started, less was still more.

The plot of Fowles's debut novel, The Collector, is simple. After winning a substantial amount of
money in the lottery, working class Frederick Clegg suddenly finds himself with the time and the
money to pursue his heart's desire. And he knows precisely what he wants: an art student named
Miranda Grey. But bland, dull-witted Frederick knows he doesn't have a chance with the beautiful
young sophisticate. So he buys a secluded house in the countryside and kidnaps her, keeping her
prisoner in a room in the basement.

But what precisely does he want with her? Sex? Love? Companionship? Or does he merely want to
possess her, to collect her like a butterfly behind glass? These questions haunt Miranda -- and the
reader -- as she struggles to find a way out of her predicament.

But John Fowles is much more than a suspense writer. There is far more at stake here than mere life
and death. The duel between Miranda and Frederick quickly becomes an epic battle between "the
few" who strive, perhaps arrogantly, for moral authenticity and aesthetic purity, and "the many"
who lack creativity, intellectual subtlety, and moral purpose. But even in his social and intellectual
explorations, what distinguishes Fowles as a novelist is his restraint. What makes the fate of
Miranda, and all she represents, so chilling is not what happens to her, but what does not.
Writer John Fowles dies aged 79
The French Lieutenant's
Woman author John Fowles
has died aged 79.

Fowles died at his home in
Lyme Regis, Dorset on
Saturday after battling a long
illness, his publisher said.
                               John Fowles was one of
Born in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, Britain's most respected
Fowles' writing career spanned authors
more than 40 years and also
included works such as The Magus and The Collector.

The French Lieutenant's Woman, which became an Oscar-
nominated film in 1981 starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons,
remains his arguably most famous work.

The novel was first published in 1969.

It was seen as a new kind of
writing, a historical novel, with
layers of truth, fantasy and self-

The French Lieutenant's
Woman has been described as a
pastiche of a historical romance,
juxtaposing Victorian characters He said he was not keen on
with the commentary of the        meeting his readers
author writing in the 1960s.

Fowles was a boarder at Bedford School before completing
compulsory military service between 1945 and 1947.

He went on to Oxford                    I know I have a
University, where he gained a        reputation as a
degree in French.                    cantankerous man of letters
                                     and I don't try and play it
But he was a teacher before          down
becoming a full-time writer in
1963 after The Collector won     John Fowles in 2003
critical acclaim and commercial success.

His tale of a butterfly collector who kidnaps a woman in London
was made into a film starring Terence Stamp two years later.

Fowles moved to Lyme Regis in 1968, which was also the
setting for The French Lieutenant's Woman.
In the same year he adapted his 1966 novel The Magus, a tale of
intrigue on a Greek island, for the big screen.

The book, which achieved cult status in the US, was reportedly
inspired by his time working in a college on the island of

But the film version featuring Michael Caine was widely
regarded as a flop, with Fowles himself describing it as "a
disaster all the way down the line".

Virtual recluse

Fowles once remarked he had been trying to escape his

"No-one in my family had any literary interests or skills at all,"
he said.

"I seemed to come from nowhere. When I was a young boy my
parents were always laughing at 'the fellow who couldn't draw' -
Picasso. Their crassness horrified me."

The author is survived by his second wife, Sarah. His first wife
Elizabeth died in 1990.

Fowles, who had a stroke in 1988, suffered from heart problems.

He was known to be a fiercely private person and stayed as a
virtual recluse in his house overlooking the sea.

He gave one of his last interviews to The Guardian in 2003 in
which he complained of being "persecuted" by his readers.

"I know I have a reputation as a cantankerous man of letters and
I don't try and play it down," he said.

"But I'm not really. I partly propagated it.

"A writer, well-known, more-or-less living on his own, will be
persecuted by his readers.

"They want to see you and talk to you. And they don't realise
that very often that gets on one's nerves."

Here is a selection of BBC News website readers' thoughts
on the news of John Fowles' death.

Add your own thoughts
John Fowles was surely one of           It sparked in me a
the greatest authors of the last    passion for great
century. His work had a major storytelling
effect on me personally,
especially his second novel,        Jon Sadler, London, UK
The Magus. It sparked in me a
passion for great storytelling, and I have read every one of his
books since embarking on that magical literary journey over 18
years ago.

Last month I decided, after reading his journals, to write to him -
as we shared a connection with Ashridge College. To my delight
he wrote back within days, including a signed photo of himself.
He was disappointed in the biography that had been written
about him the year before, but also stated that The Magus was
the novel that was closest to him.

He wrote many novels that have never seen the light of day. It
would be wonderful if some of these could now be published. I
must also make that pilgrimage to Phraxos (Spetses) now -
although I doubt I will find it in the unspoilt state that John
himself must have found it in the early fifties.
Jon Sadler, London, UK

The French Lieutenant's Woman is one of the most gripping,
involving, moving, and - at the risk of sounding pretentious -
intellectually stimulating books I've ever read. The way that
book's omniscient narrator - a staple of Victorian fiction - was
able to comment on the 19th century story from a late 20th
century vantage point was a stroke of pure genius.
Pete, Belfast

Many years ago, I was                  It went on to be a book I
recommended by a friend to          would read on many
pick up a copy of John Fowles' occasions over the years
'The Collector'. It went on to be
a book I would read on many         Michael Evans, Weybridge,
occasions over the years and        Surrey
each time I was reminded what Add your own thoughts
a huge talent he was for
creating such a fascinating and unique way of writing a book;
firstly from the perspective of the man (the 'collector'), then the
second half of the book from the perspective of the girl he had
abducted. Just superb writing. I am truly sorry to hear of his
Michael Evans, Weybridge, Surrey

Surely he will be remembered for The Magus.
Gary Thomson, Edinburgh

John Fowles' best work was 'The Magus' - sheer brilliance. His
other works included 'The Collector' an effectively creepy
novella about a psychopathic kidnapper of young women. His
later works unfortunately were nowhere near as good, including
'Daniel Martin'.
John, London, UK

I read The Magus when I was an adolescent and thought it was a
wonderful novel, full of passion. I also enjoyed The French
Lieutenant's Woman tremendously (although I thought the
movie was terrible!). John Fowles' other works did not attain
those heights of greatness and I expect he will be remembered as
a relatively minor 20th century novelist who did not achieve the
greatness that was surely within his grasp.
Ross, London, UK

John Fowles is one the century's brilliant writers. The French
Lieutenant's Woman and The Magus are both wonderful novels
and powerful political and social commentaries. His legacy will
remain tremendous even in death.
Natalia, New York, USA

I'm very saddened to hear the news of John Fowles as he's my
all-time favourite author. Although The French Lieutenant's
Woman is his most famous work, in my opinion The Magus or
The Collector are better, more enjoyable novels and would
recommend them. RIP.
Amanda, London

Fowles was perhaps our most visionary writer and will be sorely
missed. For over ten years I have lived in hope that he would
publish another novel or give an interview and that won't happen
now although I have heard that he had several complete novels
that for one reason or another he decided not to publish. A sad
day, there are few like him now.
Segovius, Barcelona, Spain
The Collector

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
       For other uses, see The Collector (disambiguation).
             The Collector (1965 film)

                original movie poster

     Directed by       William Wyler

     Produced by       Jud Kinberg
                       John Kohn

      Written by       John Fowles (novel)
                            Stanley Mann
                            John Kohn

          Starring          Terence Stamp
                            Samantha Eggar
                            Mona Washbourne

   Cinematography Maurice Jarre

       Distributed by       Columbia Pictures

         Release date       June 17, 1965 US release

        Running time        119 min

          Language          English

                        IMDb profile

The Collector is the title of a 1963 novel by John Fowles. It was made into a movie in 1965.



         1 Plot
         2 Movie
         3 Trivia
         4 Reference
         5 External link



Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The book is about a lonely young man, Frederick Clegg, who works as a clerk in a city hall, and
collects butterflies in his free time. The first part of the novel tells the story from his point of view.
Clegg is attracted to Miranda Grey, an art student who he thinks is very beautiful. He admires her
from a distance, but is unable to make any contact with her because of his nonexistent social skills.
One day, he wins a large prize in the pools. This makes it possible for him to stop working and buy
an isolated house in the countryside. He feels lonely, however, and wants to be with Grey. Unable
to make any normal contact, Clegg decides to add her to his 'collection,' in hopes that if he keeps
her captive long enough, she will grow to love him. After careful preparations, he kidnaps Grey
using chloroform and locks her up in the cellar of his house. He is convinced that the girl will start
to love him after some time. However, when she wakes up, Grey confronts him with his actions.
Clegg is embarrassed, and promises to let her go after a month. He promises to show her "every
respect," pledging not to sexually molest her and to shower her with gifts and the comforts of home,
on one condition: she can't leave the cellar.
Clegg rationalizes every step of his plan in eerily emotionless language; he seems truly incapable of
relating to other human beings and sharing real intimacy with them; it could be inferred that he is a
sociopath. He takes great pains to appear normal, however, and is greatly offended at the suggestion
that his motives are anything but reasonable and genuine.

The second part of the novel is narrated by Grey in the form of fragments from a diary that she
keeps during her captivity. Clegg scares her, and she does not understand him in the beginning. At
first she thinks that he has sexual motives for abducting her, but this turns out not to be true. She
starts to have some pity for her captor, comparing him to Caliban in Shakespeare's play The
Tempest because of his hopeless obsession with her and his warped behavior. She tries to escape
several times, but Clegg is always able to stop her. She also tries to seduce him in order to convince
him to let her go. The only result is that he becomes confused and angry. When Clegg keeps
refusing to let her go, she starts to fantasize about killing him. Before she can try to escape again,
she becomes seriously ill and dies, probably of pneumonia.

The third part of the novel is again narrated by Clegg. At first he wants to commit suicide after he
learns of Grey's death, but after he reads in her diary that she never loved him, he decides that he is
not responsible and is better off without her. Finally, he starts to plan the kidnapping of another girl.



The book was made into a movie in 1965. It was adapted by Stanley Mann and John Kohn and was
directed by William Wyler. It stars Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar.

It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Samantha Eggar), Best
Director (William Wyler) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

The original cover art for the single of the Smiths' song "What Difference Does It Make?" featured
a still of Terrence Stamp from the film. Stamp protested the use of the still as promotional material
and the Smiths instead used their singer, Morrissey, to recreate the photo for future pressings of the
single. Stamp eventually changed his mind. The UK version of the single with Morrissey in the
photo for the cover is now a rarer collectible for fans of The Smiths.



        Christopher Wilder, an American serial killer who abducted and murdered beauty queens
         and aspiring models in March and April of 1984, was apprehended by state troopers, who
         found in his possession a copy of The Collector. Apparently, his ultimate fantasy was to
         hold a girl captive and completely in his power just as Frederick Clegg does in The
         Collector, and therapists who had treated Wilder in the past affirmed that he loved the novel
         and had practically memorized it.
                      Human Freedom as defined by John Fowles in
                                  “The Collector”


                                                     " - I must know the truth, the truth beyond magic.
                                                    - There is no truth beyond magic," said the king.‖
                                                                   ("The Magus‖, John Fowles , 1965)

       The aim of this paper and its motivation derive from the desire to popularize the life and
works of American novelist and essayist, John Fowles, as well as familiarize the reader with his
philosophical contemplations on human existence.
       The questions about the sense and purpose of life are considered by every human being at
some point in time. Are we a worthless sample sent by priority mail from a maternity ward to a
funeral home? Do we register only as a speck of dust on the scale of eternity? Does it all make any
sense? Is it worth it to live a stereotype by assuming that it is the only correct way?
       Every person being burdened with the responsibility to make their own choices and adopt
their own values will find a refuge in accepting ready-to-take roles that do not have to be redefined
or created by them. But perhaps, this is what they should do.
Instead of experiencing the freedoms they possess,          people are living their lives as objects
performing certain functions.
       At times, people want to deny what they actually are by committing themselves to
obligations that they cannot possibly fulfill, therefore, deceiving themselves.
Living a stereotype, living in ”bad faith”, with a silent approval of generally accepted canons is
nothing short of turning back to one‟s own liberties and determining one‟s own meaning in life.
Conformism, so much condemned by Fowles in his works, is an evil which takes away a human
willingness to live and not to take upon a risky ventures.
       People run away from their freedom in order to escape their anguish and worries. The
torment that they experience is a result of a lack of choice in unconditioned situations, living the
door open to the realm of possibilities unexplored.
The torment, anguish, or sadness are not necessarily a consequence of freedom; freedom might
prove to be a source of joy and courage in the end.
       No doctrine is more optimistic – the human fate is in the hands of humans themselves.
       No one has ever answered questions posited in the previous sections. I want to devote this
paper to the first work by John Fowles, “the Collector” that inspires people to search and define
themselves within the endless boundaries of the timeless universe as well as to reflect on their own
       The first chapter of this work introduces to the reader John Fowles and his biography – the
master of stories full of illusions and ambitious endings. Chapter II explores John Fowles, the
philosopher, and the foundation of his wisdom. And the last of the series aims at issues of the
utmost importance to every human such as love, freedom, art, as well as social class antagonisms,
hatred, and crime, all seen through the eyes of the writer of “The Collector”.

Chapter 1

John Fowles (1926 -2005) - biography
       John Robert Fowles was born on March 3rd, 1926 at Leigh-on-Sea , a small town situated
about 40km off London, in Essex County, England. He remembers English urban culture of the
30‟s as being overwhelmingly conformist and his family as being strongly conventional. He was a
child of Robert and Gladys Richards Fowles‟. Although he had a sister 15 years younger than him,
for most of his childhood he was growing up like an only child. This, however, did not go by
without leaving an influence on the attitude of the writer toward the question of loneliness and
alienation in society.
       Fowles was an extremely apt student, initially attending classes at the Alleyn Court School
to be admitted to Bedford School at the age of 13 as one of the three best students of Alleyn. Laying
an excellent academic foundation for future university students, the Bedford School was one of the
best schools for boys. From the time perspective and his own experience, Fowles remembers the
school as a decent traditional English institution, both supportive and brutal.
       The value system widespread at the time did not only prompt toward a rebellion, but also led
to some drastic situations, which Fowles would regret later on. While a captain of prefects at
Bedford, he exercised tyranny over younger boys.
During the WW II, his family went to a little village, Devonshire near Dartmoor. After a short stay
at the University of Edinburgh, at the age of 18, Fowles himself enrolled in the army, where he
served in the navy at Dartmoor for two years beginning in 1945. He decided to leave the army but at
the same time he directed his canons against the bourgeoisie society – the first step toward
nonconformism, which had a tremendous influence on his writing.
       Another major step that he made was a four year course at New College in Oxford, where he
studied literature, German, and French in which he would major. This was the time when he
became familiar with the French existentialists, such as Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre, whose
works were in agreement with his own beliefs about the accord between the risk of life and the will
of an individual. These beliefs would become dominant in his novels. Influenced by this philosophy
he began to write his first poems and novels.
       Between 1950 and 1951 he worked as an English literature lecturer at the University of
Poitiers, France, where he learned Latin and continued his writing. This was the time when he made
a very important decision which would profoundly affect his literary career as well as personal life.
He moved to a Greek island of Spetsai, 60 miles off the Southern West of Athens.
       There he met his future wife, Elizabeth Whitton, who was married to another teacher at the
time. School, its atmosphere and stage, was a setting for the plot of his masterpiece “Magus”.
Finding the conservatism of the Greek school authorities completely repugnant, he eventually
returned to England at the end of the 1953, and accepted the position of a teacher at the Asridge
College. From 1954 to 1963 he taught English at the St. Godric College in London, where he also
took up the office of the head of the faculty. While pursuing his career as a teacher, he had
simultaneously been working on various projects of the “Magus” for the next 13 years. In the very
period of time he commenced his work on a diary. 1954 became he year where he married
Elizabeth, who beside being his companion turned into his inspiration.

1.2 Works
       At the beginning of 1962 he submitted a manuscript of his book to a publisher, who
although impressed, suggested that Fowles develop his writing toward literary fiction. Taking
seriously his advice, Fowles begun his work on “The Collector”, concluding that a less voluminous
book would be a better start on the publishing market.
       The first copy of the book was finished within a month, and in July 1962 the writer
presented it to Tom Maschler, manager of the Jonathan Cape Publishing.
The book made its debut in Spring of 1963 and it immediately became both literary and commercial
success. The book was an inspiration of a 1965 film directed by William Wyler. The adaptation was
cast with such actors as Terence Stamp as Clegg, and Samantha Eggar playing the role of Miranda.
The script was written by Stanley Mann and John Kohn, and it nicely surprised Fowles.
       Not willing to be labeled as a novel writer, Fowles decided to change “The Collector” in a
very unconventional way into a philosophy book, which he called “Aristos”.
       He was on the verge of finishing “The Magus”, a novel which had haunted him for ten
years. A long, convoluted, and challenging book tells a story of Nicholas Urfe, cynical, young
English teacher, who flees to a godforsaken Greek island of Phrakxos after an unfortunate romance.
There he meets a demonic and mysterious man of wealth by the name of Maurice Conchis.
Through his manipulation and magic, the man traps him into a game which is to captivate him and
allow him to learn the true nature of femininity (Fowles 1985).
       In comparison to Shakespeare's “The Tempest” and Homer's “The Odyssey”, “The Magus”
is a traditional exploratory story created from a variety of existential riddles as well as the
complexity of choices such as freedom and danger.
In 1968 The 20th Century Fox produced a film adaptation of “The Magus” with actors such as
Michael Caine , Anthony Queen, and Candice Bergen. Unfortunately, the movie did not do well. It
was not capable of reflecting the depth of experiences that had an existential character.
       Another novel by Fowles was inspired by his dream about a lady standing on the seashore.
This character became a protagonist of “ The French Lieutenant's Woman”. The first two drafts
were ready within 9 months but over the next two years the author spent on correcting the text line
by line in order to create a perfect illusion of a Victorian novel. The picture of England portrayed in
his work produced an astonishing result. Historical facts excellently intertwined with the plot as
well as a fantastic reflection of the XIX- century prose. Fowles sets the novel at Lyme Regis , a
small town in the Southern coast of England, where he lived himself up to his death. He thought
that “The French Lieutenant's Woman” would never be recognized by the broad public. The success
however was astounding. The reviews that he had received on both sides of the Atlantic were
unanimously praising, which culminated in W.H. Smith Award for the book, an annual award for
the greatest contribution into British literature. After the unfortunate movie adaptation of “The
Magus”, Fowles had some mixed feelings about the next production based on “The French
Lieutenant's Woman”. Screenplay written by Harry Pinter, director Karel Reisz, excellent
Hollywood actors such as Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, this all made a commotion in the silver
screen world. The film received five Oscar nominations and Fowles commented this success as a
“wonderful metaphor” of his book. Still basking in the Woman‟s success, Fowles begins to work on
his next novel, “Daniel Martin” while also publishing "The Ebony Tower", a collection of five short
stories, in which he uses similar motifs such as nature of freedom, results of risk-taking, and
omnipresent fantasy, in different settings. The collection was published in 1974 and also received a
standing ovation. After this short “breaker”, Fowles goes back his “Daniel Martin”, which becomes
his longest novel (over 700 pages).
       While writing “Daniel Martin”, Fowles consequently takes up on convincing the reader to
take a pause and contemplate issues that are of the utmost importance to man – love, sense of life,
friendship, nature of art, as well as those arising from politics, geography, and national differences.
The writer described the book as a long novel about Englishness.
       In 1977 a new, corrected version of “The Magus” appeared.
Fowles concluded that he could not leave this book the way it was and he made several changes and
alterations. The new version has many new scenes but the main plot is never changed. A more
conspicuous stress is placed on eroticism, which was not so visible when Fowles started to work on
the original version in 1950. The reader will find less supernatural elements there and the ending of
the book is also less ambitious.
The next novel, "Mantissa", was supposed to be published in a very small issue, about hundred
copies, but the Cape & Little Brown forced Fowles to a much larger edition of this book. This is the
shortest of all Fowles‟ novels, ca.196 pages. It tells a story of Miles Green, a writer who wakes up
in a hospital bed suffering from amnesia. He often converses with his muse, Erato, who provides
many new threads concerning creative work and misery and struggle connected with it as well as
the relationship between the author, the protagonist, and the reader.
       Published in 1982, "Mantissa" is the only novel by Fowles that has been heavily criticized.
       Apart from the fact that the novel raises similar problems as other Fowles‟ books, it lacks of
the power of narration, so exponential to all of his works. The reader can always treat “Mantissa”
as a joke macabre.
       One of the last novels by Fowles, “The Maggot” was published in 1986. The book
demonstrates Fowles‟ craftsmanship, his experiments in literary genres and conventions. At the
first glance, “The Maggot” seems to be a well written historical book whose plot is set in the XVIII
century, complemented by the reproduction of many important documents and contemporary notes
about those times. After a careful reading, the reader will feel some anxiety because the narrator‟s
credibility is put on the line. He/she will notice that the nominal value is much overestimated in
comparison to the real value.
       The years following the publication of “The Maggot” were not very lucky for the writer. In
1988 he fell ill and was hospitalized. After a long recovery, the writer lost his wife, Elizabeth, who
died from lung cancer. This traumatizing experience had a tremendous impact on him. Fowles
would never write another novel but would concentrate on non-fiction. Most of his non-fiction
works focuses on nature and its history – “The Enigma of Stonehenge” or “Shipwreck”. In a long
essay, “The Tree”, he discovers the influence of nature on his own life through his recollections of
the childhood or reminiscence of his work as a mature artist.
       The list of titles including his early as well as late works is very long. It embraces
translations, adaptations, poetry, monographs, and magazine articles.
In 1998 a limited edition of “Wormholes” appeared – a collection of the author‟s literary works
including literary critique and writings on culture, society, and nature, including his last interview.
       At the dusk of his life, Fowles lives a rather peaceful life but still has a reputation as a
“cantankerous man of letters”. He stays at his home in Lyme Regis for health reasons.
       In 1998 he marries Sarah again. The name of his wife like a sweet irony brings back the
memory of one of his most famous heroines – Sarah Woodruff, presented to the reader as a woman
standing at the seashore, which in reality is only several dozen meters away from Fowles‟ house.
       After being sick for a long time, John Fowles dies on Saturday of the November 5th , 2005 at
his estate in Lyme Regis.

Chapter 2
Philosophical inspirations of John Fowles

                                                     ―Being-for-itself is the being which in its mode of
                                                          being is what it is not and is not what it is.‖

Jean-Paul Sartre

       The foundations of Fowles‟ existentialist views were laid in his childhood. He lived among
respected houses inhabited by respected people and always tried to escaped from them, as he stated
in one of his interviews.
       As a teenager he spent a lot of time with his uncle, who had introduced him to the world of
wonders including the art of collecting butterfly species. The ever-lasting conflict between the
beauty of a butterfly and its death finds its reflection in the first novel by John Fowles, “The
Collector”, which is the main topic of this paper.
       While studying at Bedford, he began to revolt against a so-called “proper” upbringing and
felt suppressed by an “academic order”. This is probably the time when a grain of non-conformism
was planted in his young soul, which later on would bear fruit in many of his works.
       As a New College student in Oxford, John Fowles was familiarized with philosophical
works of the French existentialists, especially Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, whose
philosophy would inspire his own convictions about the harmony between the risks in life and the
will of an individual, as well as between the accidentality and the nature of freedom.
       A self-proclaimed careful man will always take a risk. When he is laughing, he risks not
being taken seriously by people, and when he is crying , he risks being pitted. When he reveals his
emotions , he might see the true self. When he loves, his love might be unrequited. He must take a
risk at all times. The greatest danger is not to risk anything in life. For those who don‟t risk there is
nothing out there. Realization that a conscious decision involves a risk-taking is an expression of

2.1 Existentialists - Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartrre

Albert Camus
       He was influenced by his professor and spiritual mentor , Jean Grenier Les Iles (“Islands”),
and a book by André de Richaud La Douleur (“Pain”). The ponderings on the nature of existence
and constant suffering which had become some omnipresent elements of the universe laid a
foundation for Fowles‟ future rebellion expressed both in his works as well as in personal life.
Human suffering, an integral part of human existence, would become what Camus termed a
philosophical absurd, which was to be derided in most of his works over the passage of time.
Before embarking on his writing adventure however, the author of “Caligula” could not accept the
world order rooted in a moral disorder of its sense.
       Fowles almost enters into dialogue with Camus in "Aristos”, which one may describe as a
unique map of Fowles‟ philosophical mind as well as his deep feelings.

   Only in an infinitely proliferating cosmos can both order and disorder coexist infinitely;
   and the only purposeful cosmos must be one that proliferates infinitely. It was therefore not
   created, but was always. ... What is easier to believe? That there was always something or
   that there was once nothing? ... Christianity says that creation has a beginning, middle and
   end. The Greeks claimed that creation is a timeless process. Both are correct. All that is
   created and is therefore individual has a beginning and an end; but there is no universal
   beginning and end. (Fowles, 1964)

       Near the end of the 40‟s and the beginning of 50‟s a nihilistic assertion of the absurd and
suffering would no longer satisfy Camus.
       In novels such as „ The Plague” (1947) and „ The Fall” (1956), in dramas, and most of all in
the collection of essays „ The Rebel” (1951), with all his force but never directly, the writer sparks a
tiny speck of hope in a nonsensically cruel world, a looming dignity or a quest thereof. There is
only one type of rebellion, according to Camus, which lies within the reach of human capabilities:
metaphysical rebellion, in which individuals rise up against their own conditions.
Fowles expands upon this statement:

   The whole is not a pharaonic cosmos; a blind obsession with pyramids, assembling, slaves.
   Our pyramid has not apex; is not a pyramid. We are not slaves that will never see the
   summit, because there is no summit. Life may be less imperfect in a hundred years' time
   than it is today; but it will be even less imperfect a hundred years after that. Perfectibility is
   meaningless because whatever we enter the infinite processus we can look forward with a
   wind of nostalgia for the future, and imagine a better age. It is also evil, because a terminus
   of perfection breeds a cancer of the now. For perfectibilitarians, perfect ends tomorrow
   justify very imperfect means today. (Fowles, 1964)

       The characters portrayed in works such as “Caligula” and “ Meursault” by Camus manifest
not only a confrontation of iron logic, human sensuality, and so easily acceptable a world, but also
unveil some further sources of human loneliness, thereby becoming timeless.
       In the novel “The Stranger” (1942) Camus creates a hero who seems an embodiment of the
mediocrity and a slave to his own habits. This stiff and unemotional man commits a despicable act,
he kills another man without a cause. As a result he is sentenced to death for his evil deed.
Meursault revolts against the absurd of life by acting in an irrational way. The last days of his life
are characterized by the contempt for death and exaltation of freedom.
       Man is never free because right from his birthday he is predestined to die.
The sense of absurd of life and the realization that there is no alternative to it, may evoke a feeling
of over-saturation of freedom. To make this feeling last one must rebel against everlasting
irrationality of human destiny.
       Caligula and Meursault crave for death in the end, since it is death that leads to their victory
– unity with the world. Perceived to be madmen, ostracized from their communities for their
insignificance or so-be-it greatness, both of them are compared to Sisyphus. The Sisyphus‟ drama is
not just an eternal drudgery to which he is exposed but an eternal awareness of his defeat, which
paradoxically becomes his greatness revealing his true heroism.

Jean-Paul Sartre
       The basic question that Satre puts forward is, “What does it mean to be a human?” The
answer to it lies in the very title of " Being and Nothingness". The human existence consists of two
types of existence – being and nothingness as well as being and non-being. Man exists as a being in
itself ; a thing or a subject and a being for itself - consciousness, which falls into the category of
non-being, not a thing, of which it is aware.
       Sartre describes the being-in-itself existence (phenomenon or a thing) as impenetrable to
itself because it is filled with itself. The thing has no internal or external aspects – it simply exists.
The being for itself , which is consciousness, cannot be granted the status of full existence, it is
therefore non-being.
       In his novel “Nausea” Satre forces the reader to realize the powerful omnipresence and
massiveness of things. In each subsequent episode, the hero, Antoine Roquetin, realizes fearfully
that his experiences are somewhat disturbed (standing on the beach, he raises a pebble whose very
existence frightens him). While describing Roquetin‟s youth, Satre attempts to bring out in the
reader the feeling of accidentality of existence.
       Everything is accidental, writes Roquentin in his diary, this garden, this town and myself.
When the man comes to understanding of that, he will feel weak and everything around him will be
turning foggy: this is boredom.
        When everything fails, Roquentin finds a different way to justify his existence – he must
chronicle his life in a completely honest way.
        If one wanted to define existence, the principle fact that will have to be stated is that
“something” accidentally exists. There is nothing that has proceeded existence or been its cause.
Accidentality is the core of the matter. One may discern the absurd of accidentality – inexplicable
existence of every thing, nonsense of the entire world.

    ―I can‘t say what my intentions were. I simply don‘t know. What we did is obscured by what
    we are doing‖. (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.16)

        There comes a desire for the being-for-itself to exist fully like the existence of material
things and at the same time to be rid of accidentality and suspension of consciousness. This is not
possible however. Consciousness can never become a being and still remain consciousness. These
two types of existence are separate.
        Existing as nothingness, the consciousness desires to be effectively engaged in the future
world and this is what human liberty is. Freedom is also nothingness and people can experience it
when they become conscious of what they are not , which will help them to decide what they want
to be in the future.

    ―We all want what we can‘t have. The decency of human being is the approval of this fact.
    We all take what we can get . If we don‘t have much for most part of our life, we try to make
    up for it at a very chance we have.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.64)

        Since human freedom is nothingness, people don‟t make their choices based on things but
on values and meanings. In order to accomplish something, they have to withdraw from the world
to ponder over what does not exist; such void can be filled with action.
        Sartre believes that by choosing action people choose themselves and not existence. They
choose thus their essence, a future way of existing.
        People exist is this world as a thing and consciousness. They should choose themselves and
deny what they are today by moving it into the future and choosing themselves there in a different
way. Consciously they see themselves as beings who know what they have been and they transcend
into something which they are not yet.
Sartre calls it a radical decision.
        In order to understand the basic choice, one must realize its significance so one can change it
if so desired.    Sartre rejects the idea of sub-consciousness because he identifies choice with
consciousness. Man is what he is and there is no other cause of that except the one he has chosen .
2.2 Philosophical background of “The Collector”

       Fowles‟ philosophical ideas have been shaped since his youth – conventional life in his
hometown, Leigh-on-Sea , rebellion against rising conformism, conservative school in Bedford and
a growing dissatisfaction with a “proper “ order – all of these became an excellent ground for
adopting Camus and Satre‟s philosophy. Erich Fromm, German psychologist and philosopher,
noted in one of his books that

   ―any idea is strong only if it is grounded in a person's character structure. No idea is more
   potent than its emotional matrix. What people think and feel is in their character and their
   character is shaped by their life experience, to be more precise, by the socio-economic and
   political structure of their society.‖ (Fromm,

       To put it in other terms, the conditions present in England at the time and the entire system
of values irritated the “emotional matrix”. Fowles, similarly to an irritated inside in a mollusk‟s
shell, produces a pearl, a fascinating result of his thoughts and ideas contained in his works.
       Freedom and its nature, avoidance of banalities and clichés, destruction of “proper” models,
rebellion and risk taking – these are what the writer loves the most.
For Fowles, writing novels was a certain system - an act of imagination and creation was more
important than the final result. This process contains some aspects of the humanistic philosophy,
which has always had at its center the idea of freedom.

   ―How you achieve freedom—that obsesses me—all my books are about that‖ (Olshen 11,
   Olshen, Barry N. John Fowles. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1978.).

       In his life, Fowles cultivated freedom, staying outside the established literary order and
achieving independence in the growing conformist world. It did not help to advance his career but it
allowed him to stay true to himself and to his work.
       The writing of “The Aristos” right after the publication of “The Collector” was the author‟s
manifest not to be labeled as a writer.
Fowles write:

   ―My chief concern, in The Aristos, is to preserve the freedom of the individual against all
   those pressures-to-conform that threaten our century; one of those pressures, put upon all
   of us, but particularly on anyone who comes into public notice, is that of labeling a person
   by what he gets money and fame for- by what other people most want to use him as. To call
   a man a plumber is to describe one aspect of him, but it is also to obscure a number of
   others... By stating baldly what I believe I hope to force you to state baldly to yourself what
   you believe. I do not expect agreement. If I wanted that I should have written in a very
   different form and style, and wrapped my pills in the usual sugar coating. I am not, in short,
   pleading a case.‖
    (Fowles, The Aristos, 1964)

       In “The Collector” the writer expresses his disapproval of labeling and circumscribing the
real Art through one of his heroes:

   "I felt our whole age was a hoax, a sham. The way people talk and talk about tachism and
   cubism and this ism and that ism and all the long words they use – great smeary clots of
   words and phrases. All to hide the fact that either you can paint or you can‘t.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.131)

       In a number of works by Fowles, the reader can hear praising hymns about the brave, those
who do not shy form their convictions, and who do not succumb to widespread stereotypes directly
from Fowles‟ heroes or narrators. Fowles claims that such individuals trace a pathway for the
progress of mankind. It is very often the case that in the name of their freedom, they were burned at
the stake of human hatred and unconditional subjection to existing norms. They were burned and
sacrificed on the altars of envy and superstition without ever contributing similar feelings and
reasoning to advancing their own cause.

   "In every field of human endeavor it is obvious that most of the achievements, most of the
   great steps forward have come from individuals - whether they be scientific or artistic
   geniuses, saints, revolutionaries, what you will"                               (Fowles,
   The Aristos, 1964)

       In the name of their feelings and passions, which for many “devout” a matron were nothing
more but scandalous, in the name of truth and truthfulness to themselves, the free-spirited people
did not seek a compromise. They were looking for the truth.

   "Do you realize that all the greatest achievements in the history of art., all the greatest
   things In life are something what you call indecent, and that usually they were spawned by
   feelings that you would call obscene? From passion, love, hatred, truth. Do you know abort
   that?‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.131)

       Freedom constitutes an important philosophical problem. Speaking of freedom has for its
prerequisite the existence of an entity (spirit or mind) capable of making rational decisions. A
deterministic view, in which every event is an unavoidable consequence of previous causes, is
difficult to be reconciled with the free will.
       Does not the decision making involve an element of risk? Every decision, minor or major,
carries an element of risk. No man can guarantee a full success nor authoritatively state that a
particular decision is the most beneficial.

    Hazard has conditioned us to live in hazard. All our pleasures are dependant upon it. Even
    though I arrange for a pleasure; and look forward to it, my eventual enjoyment of it is still a
    matter of hazard. Wherever time passes, there is hazard. You may die before you turn the
    next page. (Fowles, 1964)

       Fowles‟ growing revolt against the social differences and barriers, which by their own
definition contain an antagonism of freedom, is also reflected in “The Collector”. By including two
different social strata in his dialogs and narrations, in a surprisingly easy, witty, and at the same
time forcible way, Fowles presents problems of many people resulting form their social

    " She often went on about how she hated class distinction, but she never took me in. It‘s the
    way people speak that gives them away, not what they say. You only had to see her dainty
    ways to see how she was brought up. She wasn‘t la-di-da, like many, but it was there all the
    same. You could see it when she got sarcastic and impatient with me because I couldn‘t
    explain myself or I did things wrong. Stop thinking about class, she‘d say. Like a rich man
    telling a poor man to stop thinking about money.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.41)

       Freedom can make the man authentic. What distinguishes the man from other beings is his
attitude toward the future. By being the future himself, he becomes what he is not, since the future
has not arrived yet. Conclusion – he is nothingness because he is what he is not. Some thing that
does not exist cannot be determined. Only existing things can. Thus, the man is the freedom. In
every situation he is free because he has a choice. He will not take responsibility when he justifies
his actions by blaming external factors. But it is eternal factors that he decided to accept, which
makes him fully responsible for that. The freedom of the man is realized through ideals set forward.
He is condemned to be free with no way of escaping it.
       Every man is aware of his freedom and responsibility. This awareness is manifest in his
anxieties, which are a result of his knowledge that he can reject every value, or that he establishes
these values himself.
       While escaping from his responsibility for the choice of value he has made, he is also aware
that he is escaping from it. Even when he renounces his freedom, he makes a free choice.
                                "We build towards nothing; we build"
                                            (Fowles 1964)
Chapter 3

                                                                                     "The Collector"

  "Seeing her always made me feel like I was catching a rarity, going up to it very careful, heart-in-
       mouth (…)I always thought of her like that, I mean words like elusive and sporadic, and very
                                                       refined (…) More for the real connoisseur ."
                                                                       (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.9)

       He was looking at her and craving without ever realizing that it was freedom which had
brought colors and charm to her and his butterflies. He fell in love and desired to have her for
himself, but he could never find either a net or a poison strong enough to keep her close to him. He
looked at her while she could still enjoy her freedom, still beautiful, joyful and playful, and veiled
by the aura of the day dream by which he lived. He was imagining her sitting next to him and
painting. Ordinary life can be beautiful, graceful, volatile, as always. He was imagining that they
were together and his desire for her grew stronger… Apparently, providence wanted to endow him
with the best of the specimen he could ever wish for. Why would the reason be different? It was
money that let him capture her and she came dangerously too close as though she had known and
decided to be part of his collection.
       He thought it over and created a world in which she could be only his. While in captivity,
Miranda Grey proved to be neither a quiet nor an unsettling butterfly. Contrary to the
circumstances, she was the one to dictate the rules and even began to find some fun or joy in her
new situation. And what about him? He only wished she would love him whereas she only desired
to be free again. Although she could explain his madness and find some reasoning for his behavior,
she could not understand him and wanted to flee. She did not love him, never could fall in love with
him. He realized they belonged to two different worlds and that his mastermind plan, so approved
by the providence, was not so perfect after all. But both of them were living together, at least for
some time...
       “The Collector” is a novel about freedom and love or perversely about captivity and selfish,
egoistic loving. The subject matter of the entire book provides a shrine for other truths about the
human condition such as weaknesses and a changing attitude toward God, which a careful reader is
able to discover with ease.
       A defective side of human personality is lack of appreciation for things that are within reach
and some excessive longing for things that can never be obtained.
Superabundance does not necessarily evoke gratitude, but extreme want will cause suffering. The
conclusion becomes easily readable through contrast.

3.1. Frederic Clegg

       "The Collector" tells a story of abduction and captivity of Miranda Grey by Frederic Clegg.
The story begins with the narration of Clegg. The language is simple, sometimes even trivial. The
argumentation that the reader receives from Clegg is often irritating and strikes with his naiveté.
Like a clumsy Sophist, he is trying to convince the reader as to his “honest intentions”, but he is
aware of his own limitations, realizing that he will never cross the boarder of two different worlds
of social division.
       Fowles uses this type of rhetoric deliberately in order to render Clegg‟s state of mind as well
as his social upbringing in a more emphatic way.
       The collector is telling a story of how he used to watch Miranda when she was leaving or
coming back home, or when she was coming to the town hall where he used to work. He start a log
for this purpose, in which he can note down every detail of her encounter.

   ―She didn‘t look once at me, but I watched the back of her head and her hair in a long
   pigtail. It was very pale, silky, like burnet cocoons.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p .9)

       Clegg is an amateur butterfly collector, which can be inferred by the reader from the
meetings at the “Bug Section”. He is an amateur collector but a rather ambitious person who will
never shun from investing all his efforts into obtaining even the rarest and the most beautiful of all
the specimens.
       A peculiar sense of beauty that he is bestowed upon will never evoke a feeling of euphoria
for ordinary things, nor will it ever produce admiration nor even an ordinary liking for ugliness of
this world. When he desires to gain a “new experience”, his internal drive will lead him to a local
prostitute , whose services he describes in a completely detested statement:

   "She was worn, common. Like a specimen you‘d turn away from, out collecting.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.14)
       The mind of the collector directs him toward a possession and control of every object of his
desire, even if the price to pay were to destroy life and freedom. His entire nature is fully engaged
into a preparation of a criminal plan, which, in his opinion, is nothing but another trap for yet
another priceless gem of his collection.
       „I could go on all night about the precautions‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.25)
And still continuing to reveal his true character -
       „It was a good day‘s work.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.25)

       As a lottery winner (ca.200.000 $) he is able to fulfill his insane dream by buying a house in
the country, whose little room will become a prison cell for his most precious specimen.
       At the appropriate moment, by means of a subterfuge, he lures a young art students, Miranda
Grey, just to overpower her and place in the little nest so carefully woven for her.

   „It finally ten days later happened as it sometimes does with butterflies I mean you go to a
   place where you know you may see something rare and you don‘t but the next time not
   looking for it you see it on a flower right in front of you, handed to you on a plate.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p. 26)

       When she recovers from this chloroform induced dream, Clegg discovers that she is a very
intelligent person, which stirs his complex as to his social and educational background. She quickly
unmasks his lie , which leaves him bewildered and staggered at the cleverness she is capable of

   “She said nothing for a minute. Then she suddenly looked as if she‘d thought of something
   nasty, what I said might be true sort of thing.
   ‗Of course. this must be his house in Suffolk.‘
   Yes, I said, thinking, I was clever.
   ‗He hasn‘t got a house in Suffolk,‘ she said, all cold..
   You don‘t know, I said. But it sounded feeble.
   She was going to speak but I felt I had to stop her questions, I didn‘t know she was so
   sharp. Not like normal people‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p. 34)

       "Normal people" are average and undistinguishing, very close to the kind of Clegg‟s and for
this reason he will always feel completely intimidated in her company. In the face of the discovery
that she has made, Clegg admits that he wants to “host” her, for it is his love for her that he is
guided by and this love, so pure in its nature, voids him of any sanity he once possessed. His honest
declaration and confession of love do not affect Miranda, who, completely emotionless, demands to
be immediately released. Ashamed and dejected, Clegg promises to return her freedom within a
month. Prior to Miranda‟s capture, Clegg would often dream his sinful dreams about her, but it is
now when he fully articulates his love for the first time, love that he has never admitted before:

   “Suddenly I said, I love you. It‘s driven me mad.
   She said, ‗I see,‘ in a queer grave voice.
   She didn‘t look at me any more then.
   I know it‘s old-fashioned to say you love a woman, I never meant to do it then.(…) But when
   I had her there my head went round and I often said things I didn‘t mean to.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.37)

       From this moment on, the attitude that Clegg adopts seems to be justified, since every thing
that he does is done in the name of love. Perhaps naïve love, mad love, but still LOVE!
       His prior actions and explanations are becoming more understandable in the light of these
facts. The “observation log”, the seeking of every encounter, the admiration and dreams are nothing
but love!
       While reading the book, the reader is slowly beginning to realize that they are being
manipulated by the author, who wants them to reach this conclusion and give their blessing to
Clegg‟s actions, for love has to win in the end! Fowles‟ arguments which are uttered through the
character of Clegg, seem to be the collector‟s merits, but only on the surface. He wants the reader to
think and feel like Clegg, so that his cheap populism could appear honest and true. His concern, the
care about every single whim that Miranda may have, keeping her intimacy intact, it all for just a
little in return! – to make her get to know him and fall in love with him, while still his “guest”.
       The reader, so deceived by Clegg‟s argumentations, moves into the comfortable little room
in the cellar, Miranda‟s prison cell, and forgets abut the most repugnant thing that has occurred in
this room, namely the loss of freedom. Meals that one can only dream of, baths, precious gifts, and
walks in the gardens late into the evening, as well as full devotion and elevation to the rank of
goddess for Clegg, all this calls for a single question – should not she agree to the “happiness”
surrounding her?

   ―No one will never understand how happy we were – just me, really, but there were times
   when I consider she didn‘t mind in spite of what she said, if she thought about it.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.64)

       Clegg is driven, however, by sheer egoism, where only his feelings and emotions are to be
reckoned with, forgetting hers.
   ―I had nice dreams, dreams where I went down and comforted her; I was excited, perhaps I
   went a bit far in what I gave myself to dream, but I wasn‘t really worried, I knew my love
   was worthy of her.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.30-31)

       "A bit far" – sounds like a sarcastic euphemism. He does not realize or does not want to
comprehend the crime that he has so violently committed. Only his love is important! His
perception of reality is distorted by his unhealthy subjective feelings. Subconsciously, he will shout
down the evil within him, trying to burry the crime with expensive gifts, which are to represent the
evidence of his unselfish and honest love, which is all he is capable of doing. His words,
confessions, and assurances about the purity of his intentions are becoming some empty statements
in the light of his deeds. He can never offer any spiritual support to her, which under the
circumstances would sound like a joke macabre.
       Miranda accepts the gifts, and very often will ask for fancier meals or more precious objects,
for she wants to bring some normality into the situation, despite discomfort that she experiences.
This artificial protection, a shield from the approaching madness, will fill her with disgust for such a
conduct, which he bitterly describes in her diary entry as follows:

   I prostituted myself to Caliban. I mean, I let him spend all that money on me, and although I
   told myself it was fair, it wasn‘t.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.222)

       The gap between the two will grow every day until reaching abyssal proportions. Different
social backgrounds, opposite attitude toward arts and literature, contradictory views of life, and a
completely different angle of perceiving the world and surrounding reality will inevitably lead to a
dramatic epilogue.
       To no avail does Clegg expect a little scrap of Miranda‟s love or a little spec of liking for
him. He will feed on every crumb of her kindly answer, every glance and gesture which he
considers a tiny step toward accomplishing his goal. He is patient and will never hurry.

   ―People today always want to get things, they no sooner think of it they want to get it in
   their hands, but I‘m different, old-fashioned, I enjoy thinking about the future and letting
   things develop all in good time. Easy does it, as Uncle Dick used to say when he was into a
   big one.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p. 95)

       He will never leave it up to the unpredictable time, nor will he ever cease his efforts. He
attempts to satisfy her sublime artistic taste through consenting to redecorate the interior and
replacement of the household items. After several attempts to present his own shabby predilections,
he withdraws startled, for he will not have his own opinions, which he has never possessed, in his
march for Miranda‟s approval. He can discern his insignificance and will resort to a complete
reliance onto her sense of esthetics and beauty. His lack of strength and power will prevent him
from manifesting his likes and dislikes, to which every human being is entitled.

    ―It‘s a lovely lovely room. It‘s wicked to fill it with all this shoddy staff. Such muck!‘ She
    actually kicked one of the chairs. I suppose I looked like I felt (offended) because she said,
    ‗But you must see it‘s wrong! Those terrible chichi wall-lamps and‘ – she suddenly caught
    sight of them – ‗not china wild ducks!‘ She looked at me with real anger, then back at the
    ducks. (…) Then she shocked me. She went up to the fireplace where the wild ducks were,
    there were three hung up, thirty-bob each and before you could say Jack Knife she had
    them off the hooks and bang crash on the hearth. In smithereens.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971,

       The limitedness of his sensitivity suffers a series of defeats from Miranda in recognizing the
nature of differences in understanding beauty. Expecting praising hymns, Clegg displays his pride
and joy, a butterfly collection.

    ―Aren‘t you going to show me my fellow-victims?‘
    Of course I wanted nothing better. I pulled out one or two the most attractive drawers –
    members of the same genus drawers, nothing serious, just for show, really. (…)
    ‗How many butterflies have you killed?‘
    You can see.
    ‗No I can‘t. I‘m thinking of all the butterflies that would have come from these if you‘d let
    them live. I‘m thinking of all the living beauty you‘ve ended.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p. 54)

       Contrary to what he might have awaited, Miranda can only see the trophies of death
arranged into a little glassed cemetery. Also his first photographic attempts will evoke sadness and
low spirits in the mind of this detainee of love.

    ―They‘re dead.‘ She gave me a funny look sideways. ‗Not these particularly. All photos. When
    you draw something it lives and when you photograph it, it dies.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971,

       Subsequent spheres of understanding and feeling will reveal a tremendous discrepancy of
views. While introducing such a broad area to be considered, Fowles creates a fertile ground for
hearing arguments on both sides of the isle. Placing the reader in the role of an arbitrator as well as
conversant, Fowles provokes the reader to voice an opinion in form of an internal polemic on a
subject that is very often trivialized or naively expressed by the author. He prompts the reader to
take a stand in the area of music, literature, painting, as well as politics or social issues.
       Miranda provides a sample of her artistic talent, trying to encourage Clegg to express his
feelings. Unfortunately, the test of her design will mercilessly unveil Clegg‟s lack of ability to react
and in fact it will demonstrate his total tastelessness.

    ―Well, ignoring her dig I had three guesses, they were all wrong. The one that was so good
    only looked half-finished to me, you could hardly tell what the fruit were and it was all lop-
    ‗There I‘m just on the threshold of saying something about the fruit. I don‘t actually say it,
    but you get the idea that I might. Do you feel that?‘
    I said I didn‘t actually.
    She went and got a book of pictures by Cézanne.
    ‗There,‘ she said, pointing to a coloured one of a plate of apples. ‗He‘s not only saying
    everything there is about the apples, but everything about all the apples and all form and
    I take your word for it, I said. All your pictures are nice, I said.
    She just looked at me.
    ‗Ferdinand,‘ she said. ‗They should have called you Caliban.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971,

3.1.1 Caliban

       Giving Clegg the name of Caliban brings to mind the parallelism of Shakespeare‟s Tempest.
A careful reader discovers this similarity the moment when Clegg introduces himself to Miranda
under a false name as Ferdinand.

    ―Your first name?‘
    She gave me a quick sharp look.
    ‗That‘s not true,‘ she said. (…)
    It‘s just a coincidence, I said.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.39)

Likewise, Miranda points in her diary (Chapter II):

   ―The next morning (…) I found out what his name was (vile coincidence!) (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.122)

       Why is she reacting to this name in such a way? Most likely, due to the similarity between
their names and the names of the heroes in “The Tempest”, Prospero‟s daughter, Miranda, and her
beloved Ferdinand, son of Alonzo, the king of Naples. One can presume that Clegg is also familiar
with this play by Shakespeare, when he himself makes the following statement:

    ―C. I used to be told I was good at English. That was before I knew you.
    M. It doesn‘t matter.
    C. I suppose you got the A level and all that.
    M. yes, I did.
    C. I got O level in Maths and Biology.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.182)

        The reader intuitively understands Clegg‟s statement as the writer‟s attempt to find new
interesting analogies. Frederic wanted to become Ferdinand, unfortunately in Miranda‟s eyes he
was only Caliban. Under a careful scrutiny, this similarity becomes astonishing.
        Shakespearean Caliban is a tragic hero, who is mystical to some extent. Similarly, Clegg
brings himself to an inevitable defeat in his fight between love and freedom.
        Caliban is both a human being, an animal, and a monster. He remains outside of any
conventions, of any gender, or of any civilized society. The collector is a loner with androphobic
inclinations, who confesses during the preparation of his criminal act that:

    “I was alone all the time; not having any real friends was lucky.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971,

        Caliban cannot communicate effectively with other people since he is separated from them
and feels lonely. Clegg with his inferiority complex escapes to places where there are no people. He
goes through extreme torments when he has no choice but enter a public place such as a bar or a
waiting room at his doctor‟s. He suffers when he is accompanied by people.
        The Shakespearean Caliban undergoes metamorphosis the moment he touches Miranda.
Fowles‟ Caliban undergoes similar metamorphosis, which brings some sense and brightness into his

    ―I can only say that evening I was very happy, as I said above, and it was more like I had
    done something very daring, like climbing Everest or doing something in enemy territory.
    My feelings were very happy because my intentions were of the best. It was what she never
    To sum up, that night was the best thing I ever did in my life (bar winning the pools in the
    first place). It was like catching the Mazarine Blue again or a Queen of Spain Fritillary. I
    mean it was like something you only do once in a lifetime and even then often not;
    something you dream about more than you ever expect you see come true, in fact.‖ (―The
    Collector‖ 1971, p31)

        His collector mind obsessed with an exclusive ownership of beauty is not seeking an
alternative, nor does it perceive the slightest evil in imprisoning someone that he loves, even when
this eternal imprisonment is death, since to love is to posses. In his reasoning there is no place for
understanding someone else‟s desires, for his ideal of love, the platonic love, which is void of any
sensual elements, has been completed.
   ―What she never understood was that with me it was having. Having her was enough.
   Nothing needed doing. I just wanted to have her, and safe at last.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971,

       The Shakespeare‟s Caliban cannot come near to men, who have even taken away any
possible satisfaction of his sexual desire, the basic of all human instincts.
This makes him an entity capable of inflicting pain on others, or even of murdering. The evil within
him is a result of a deep pain that torments Caliban‟s mind and whets his killing appetite.
       Despite the fear that he bears with him, most of anything he simply loves and wants to be
loved. Simultaneously, he looks gropingly for the roots, for he is lost. He has not had a contact with
other human beings, with their sensitivity and tenderness, for a long time. At first he burns figurines
of Miranda and curses her, which is his peculiar way of showing his presence. Most of all, he broke
his own principles. He is weak and strong at the same time, which is the reason why he cannot
achieve his goal.
       Prospero‟s daughter, beautiful Miranda, treated him as though he was a caveman, who is
said to be not only ugly but also devilish.
       By creating the character of Clegg, Fowles makes the reader feel sorry for him, as in the
case of Caliban, despite the huge range of negative feelings that his character may evoke. Miranda
who is provided by her “admirer” with some classics of British literature, reaches for “The
Tempest” by Shakespeare and concludes:

   Reading ‗The Tempest‘ again all the afternoon. Not the same at all, now what‘s happened
   has happened. The pity Shakespeare feels for his Caliban, I feel (beneath the hale and
   disgust) for my Caliban. Half-creatures.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.245)

       The feeling of sorrow and pity is a bow toward a great tragedy of this “half-creature” and it
opens new areas for examining his inner self as well as understanding motives for his behavior.
While being convinced by the author, the reader like a lawyer seeks arguments for his defense.
       Difficult childhood. Lack of love. Brought up by his aunt, for whom the only enemy was
dust and dirt, the world of a little side street, and the world of uncle Dick, who at times would drink
in a local pub and take young Frederic for short trips during which he could catch his butterflies,
while his uncle was fishing. Frederic‟s father died in a car accident when he was two. His father
was drunk, and he drank because of Frederic‟s mother, who, as aunt Annie explains, was a street
walker who ran away with a foreigner.
       A subconscious desire of love, which he has never known, is the only explicable drive
behind his behavior. He persistently pushes away all the thoughts about sensual aspect of love,
thinking of it as dirty but this only becomes an escape from his own sexuality, which has never had
any opportunity to develop properly.
       Growing in the atmosphere of scandal, whose prime part was played by his mother, and in
the shadow of his overprotective aunt, he develops some pathologies. He cannot find an agreement
within him, as the Shakespearean Caliban never does. Watching kissing couples in the park and
taking their photos or buying pornographic magazines, Frederic distances himself from all the
hideous and loathsome things and builds a sense of his own uniqueness and greatness.

   ―Well, of course with Aunt Annie and Mabel out of the way I bought all the books I wanted,
   some of them I didn‘t know such things existed, as a matter of fact I was disgusted.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.17)

       He wants to add to his self-confidence and self-esteem by taking upon a fight against his
social class complex, his lack or inability to assimilate among people and this struggle find its vent
in a Great Love, a completion of his entire life.
Love at any price, which is to prove that the world that he has created is the right one. The only true
love that only Clegg is capable of giving.

   ―I‘m not the crude pushing sort, I never have been, I always had higher aspirations, as they
   say.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.15)

While still in Germany, he admits that he has gotten drunk once or twice but never had anything to
do with women. A romantic evening with an old prostitute was his only sexual experience, also
disastrous in nature.

   ―I suddenly felt I‘d like to have a woman. (…) As I said, I tried to do it but it was no good
   and I didn‘t try hardly.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.15)

       He realizes that he has problems but he can never directly admit that. He runs away from
mirrors because he prefers the mirror of his own illusions, in which he can lovingly look at the
reflection and give himself an absolution without ever doubting that he has achieved success in life.
Ferdinand Clegg is a man of no attributes, a mirror of his own which watches a female prisoner and
wants to saturate its surface with image and voice, and give her everything that she subconsciously
         If his love turned out to be too weak or not great enough, and if it were never requited, his
entire tediously built world would crumble, which the collector can never allow. He will do
anything to prove that his intentions are good and “noble”, though time is not his ally…

3.1.2. Love.

         Over the course of time, poets and philosophers have tried to describe, or find a rule for , or
classify, and understand the idea of love, but it is impossible to contain love into a set of rules or a
definition due to its complexity and in-definability. There have been wars in the name of love, it
has influenced the course of the human history and led to madness and unutterable happiness. It has
been a companion to revolutions and everyday matters, present in royal chambers and clay huts. It
has been a subject of human fascination for centuries, visible in arts, literature, psychology, and
religion. Love is believed to be the sense of the human existence making it true and happy.
         But love has not always been a good force. It could lock the beloved in the ideal world of
imagination, in the world of suffering and non-fulfillment. In the literary works all over the world,
love has been changing its face over time. Depending on the human consciousness, on the values
that one professes it has been undergoing metamorphosis.
         The literary heroes of the Romanticism, for instance, who experience this type of feeling are
tragic and deeply unhappy by rule. None of the Romantic heroes ever finds personal happiness,
though this is happiness combined with love that is an object of his pursuit in life, his greatest
         Love is a strange phenomenon, which can change people into what has been unimaginable
before, doing unfeasible deeds in the name of its power and exceptionality.
         Fowles does not resort to cheap tricks such as “the met, fell in love with each other, and
lived long happily ever after”. He respects an intelligent reader and he expects from the reader to
contemplate various shades and hues of love. He does not create a plot with a happy ending. While
examining the theme of love, Fowles explores the secrets of human souls, their metamorphoses,
sufferings, elevations, without any chance for a happy ending, which Fowles holds in contempt.
         “The Collector” is the study of difficult love, which is not only an unrequited feeling
causing pain, but also full of internal and external conditions. The cause of complications is very
often the difference of personalities, social and moral barriers, as well as some external events
independent of a loving couple. Difficult love is a long-lasting feeling, sometimes mutual, but
always causing suffering. Due to a huge amount of psychological and emotional load in such love,
Fowles consciously accepts the challenge.

3.1.3 Clegg's “Love”.

       Despite a litany of assurances from Clegg as to the purity of his love for Miranda, the reader
has serious doubts as to his sincerity. It certainly is love but so convoluting confusing.
       Scrutinizing the text, the reader will lose the blinders of pity and remove the mask off
Clegg‟s face. Clegg is a “drug addict” who needs Miranda like heroine in order remain in his
remote unreality which he is not strong enough to face.
       The analysis of his behavior and his thoughts (possible due the first person narration) paint a
full picture of his emotional state.
       Does he love? Unquestionably, he does but himself and the state in which he remains. He
also loves his imagination of Miranda.
       He created her. He created a small frame in his mind into which he wanted to fit her real
image. It is a butterfly that he sees, which he does not have to get to know to admire. A mute beauty
is sufficient - her wonderfully spread wings.

    “So nothing happened really. There were just all those evenings we sat together and it
    doesn‘t seem possible that it will never be again. It was like we were the only two people in
    the world. (…) I could sit there all night watching her, just the shape of her head and the
    way the hair fell from it with a special curve, so graceful it was, like the shape of a swallow-
    tail.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.64)

       His „collector-like” worship of beauty paralyzes any reflexes of empathy. He proves that he
is not capable of any human reflexes when he voices his opinion about his cousin Mabel:

    ―I don‘t blame her, it was natural, especially with a daughter who‘s a cripple. I think
    people like Mabel should be put out painlessly, but that‘s beside the point.‖ (―The
    Collector‖ 1971, p.16)

       Putting himself into someone else‟s position is a notion that is completely foreign to him. He
is egocentric and abominable, though presented as an innocent, fate-stricken wretch, but he will
never leave any doubt as to the nature of his true self. To watch and to possess are his lifetime
credo. To satisfy his senses and feed the world of his devise in order to justify foul deeds. In her
diary Miranda does not leave any doubt as to the interpretation of Clegg‟ intentions:
   ―He ‗s the most tremendous stander-around I‘ve ever met. Always with that I‘m-sorry
   expression on his face, which I begin to realize is ‗actually‘ contentment. The sheer joy of
   having me under his power, of being able to spend all and every day staring at me. He
   doesn‘t care what I say or how I feel – my feelings are meaningless to him – it‘s the fact
   that he‘s got me.
   I could scream abuse at him all day long; he wouldn‘t mind at all. It‘s me he wants; my
   look, my outside; not my emotions or my mind or my soul or even my body. Not anything

He‘s a collector. That‘s the great dead thing in him.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.161)

       This and only this is fitted into the collector‟s perception. In contact with a living, feeling
specimen, although imprisoned, he loses his self-confidence. She is too intelligent, too wise, too
sensitive, and too free in her captivity. He has never tried to find an answer to why he is behaving
this way and what he is really feeling.
       The only thing that he is capable of doing is to analyses the situation and draw typical
conclusions. He has needed a statue with which he could quench his never-ending thirst.

   ―The photographs ( the day I gave her the pad), I used to looked at them sometimes. I could
   take my time with them. They didn‘t talk back at me.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.103)

       There is an game in play between the collector-observer and the „exhibit”, whose main prize
is freedom or love. The game in which there are no losers or winners.
Clegg expects that his specimen will finally melt into his deranged strategic plan. Miranda will
never surrender and she will pretend not to know about the marked cards just to keep her rival
happy. There is only one thing that he can accept from her, her unconditional love as he has
imagined. Realizing his defeat, he unveils his true face.

   ―I could have done anything. I could have killed her. All I did later was because of that
    It was almost like she was stupid, plain stupid. Of course she wasn‘t really, it was just that
   she didn‘t see how to love me in the right way. There were a lot of ways she could have
   pleased me.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.102)

       He can never admit the fact that this is love and only love that can change Miranda. But why
would he want a butterfly that flies freely over flowery meadows, basking its wings in the sun? It
arouses him only when it is pinned down in a glass box. He wants to feel power over it. Which of
these beautiful creatures so endowed by nature would ever look at the collector? He is aware that
probably none of them. Only on the collecting he sees a chance for heeling his paranoia, which he
treats as something lofty and foreign to other mortals.

     ―Look, Ferdinand, I don‘t know what you see in me. I don‘t know why you are in love
     with me. Perhaps I could fall in love with you somewhere else. I…‘ she didn‘t seem to
     know what to say, which was unusual ‗…I do like gentle kind men. But I couldn‘t possibly
     fall in love with you in this room, I couldn‘t fall in love with anyone here. Ever.‖ (―The
     Collector‖ 1971, p.39)

       In the game for his egoistic happiness, Clegg bets everything on a single hand. When the
time for Miranda‟s release approaches, he makes arrangements for a farewell supper. He carefully
prepares "flowers, (…) bottles on the side-table, (…) everything really grand hotel.‖ (―The
Collector‖ 1971, p.79). He does not forget to take some precautions:

   ―I would take the risk but watch her like a knife and I would have the chloroform and CTC
   handy, just in case trouble blew up. Say someone knocked at the door, I could use the pad
   and have her bound and gagged in the kitchen in a very short time, and then open up.‖
   (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.80)

       While doing his preparations, he comes up with an ingenious idea of proposing to her during
the supper. He buys a valuable necklace and an engagement ring. He knows very well that she will
refuse his marriage proposal but simultaneously this will be a wonderful pretext for keeping her
longer. Miranda refuses his proposal, as predicted, being honest with her own feelings and not
wanting this type of “freedom”.

   ―Then why can‘t it be me?
   ‗Because I can‘t marry a man to whom I don‘t feel I belong in all ways. My mind must be
   his, my heart must be his, my body must be his. Just as I must feel he belongs to me.‘
   I belong to you.
   ‗But you don‘t! Belonging‘s two things. One who gives and one who accepts what‘s given.
   You don‘t belong to me because I can‘t accept you. I can‘t give you anything back.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.85)

       After this confession Clegg has no illusions as to the outcome of his devilish plan. He is
rejected and he becomes enraged. Miranda uses this opportunity and tries to escape. Clegg disables
her however and puts to sleep so that he can take photos of her while she is in her lingerie in order
to show his superiority.

   ―It was my chance I had been waiting for. I got the old camera and took some photos, I
   would have taken more, only she started to move a bit, so I had to pack up and get out
   quick.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.87)
       It is so typical of wicked people like Clegg, lack of courage to confront others, hiding his
true face, and putting a mask of a benevolent benefactor, whose foul nature will always come to the
surface from within at the first defeat.
       One event will lead to another like on a slippery slope. Depressed, Miranda tries to kill him,
and then seduce him. Of course, the collector will feel only disdain and disgust for such a thing.
Fear of his own lustfulness brings him to an emotional boiling point. The reader can notice Clegg‟s
psychopathic behavior in his hiding behind the wall of the aboveness over all these “disgusting
things” as well as his cocoon of respect for which he would never do “these things”.

   ―I know I wasn‘t normal then, not doing the expected, she did some things which I won‘t
   say expect that I would never have thought it of her. She laid beside me on the sofa and
   everything, but I was all twisted inside.
   She made me look a proper fool. I knew what she was thinking, she was thinking this was
   why I was always so respectful. I wanted to do it, I wanted to show her I could do it so I
   could prove I was really respectful. I wanted her to see I could do it, then I would tell her I
   wasn‘t going to, it was below me, and below her, it was disgusting.‖ (―The Collector‖
   1971, p.99-100)

       Clegg‟s fights with the tyrant and sadist within him living in the backstage of his life, who
filled his entire soul, he tries to calm himself, tries to assure himself that these are only
circumstances that he has never planned, but his burning conscience is a warden to guard his
repenting thoughts from ever settling down and nesting in his mind.

   ―At lunch I told him I could see he was ashamed of what he was doing, and that it wasn‘t
   too late. You hit his conscience and it gives, but it doesn‘t hurt him at all. I‘m ashamed, he
   says; I know I ought to, he says. I told him he didn‘t look a wicked person. He said, this is
   the first wicked thing I‘ve ever done.
   It probably is. But he‘s been saving up.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.123)

       If he does not look like a bad man, then what does he look like? Fowles created perfectly,
like a master of physiognomy, a veil of an obsessionnist. In the first chapter, whose narrator is
Clegg, he does not provide any details concerning his appearance but only from his words he lets
the reader create Clegg‟s image. The full picture is painted by Miranda and it is very similar to the
first strokes outlined by the reader‟s imagination.<o:p>

   ―His face has a sort of natural ‗hurt‘ set. Sheepish. No, giraffish. Like a lanky gawky
   giraffe. (…) A lilywhite boy.
   He‘s six feet. Eight or nine inches more than me. Skinny, so he looks taller then he is.
   Gangly. Hands too big, a nasty fleshy white and pink. Not a man‘s hands. Adam‘s apple too
   big, wrists too big, chin much too big, underlip bitten in, edges of nostrils red. Adenoids.
   He‘s got one of those funny inbetween voices, uneducated trying to be educated. It keeps on
   letting him down. His whole face is too long. Dull black hair. It waves and recedes, it‘s
   coarse. Stiff. Always in place. (…) Absolutely sexless. (He looks). (…) Fish-eyes. They
   watch. That‘s all. No expression.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.122)

       Being convinced of his own inadequacy, worthlessness becoming a source of his shyness,
and his linguistic incompetence are the main evidence of Clegg‟s inferiority complex.
       To compensate for these deficiencies he becomes excessively aggressive. Without any
scruples, Clegg becomes an oppressor and Miranda turns into an object of his vengeance for all
failures that he has suffered in life. She is the one to have revealed his love and decay, providing
also advice about what he can change about himself. Such advice will never inspire people like
Clegg to contemplate their own life.

   ―I felt happy, I can‘t explain, I saw I was weak before, now I was paying her back for all
   the things she said and thought about me. I walked about upstairs, I went and looked at her
   room, it made me really laugh to think of her down there, she was the one who was going to
   stay below in all senses and even if it wasn‘t what she deserved in the beginning she had
   made it so that she did now. I had real reason to teach her what was what‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.107)

       Insensitive to her implorations for medical assistance during progressing pneumonia, he sees
Miranda off toward her death. She has asked him for help on many occasions but he does not take
her seriously in his madness. Even when she begs him to take her temperature, he believes that it is
another trick that she uses to fool him.

   ―You know you‘re not ill, if it was pneumonia you couldn‘t stand up even.
   ‗I can‘t breathe at nights. I‘ve got a pain here, I have to lie on my left side. Please take
   my temperature. Look at it.‘
   Well I did and it was 102 but I knew there were ways you could fake temperatures.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.111)

       A character of contradictions, inner struggle, which Fowles builds in a rather complicated
manner requires some degree of defense though. It is difficult to be a devil‟s advocate but the need
for creating a precise image of his inner self and the reasons for his behavior demand that the reader
cast off all the emotions for a brief moment and look at the character of Clegg without a personal
       The madly-in-love Clegg becomes a victim of a tragic paradox, another human being is a
cure for his ailment thereof she is the cause. She brings about in him the feeling of incompleteness,
because though being in his captivity, she is never with him for real. She is not a partner who is
present, helpful, and building a safe relationship.
       The object of his obsessive love is his hallucination to a certain extent. She vexes his senses,
torments his desires, and feeds him an illusion of full saturation.
       Psychoanalysts might be right that a loving passion has some connection with the
experiences from the early childhood, the only time when mother or father used to satisfy all the
needs a youngster could have. The parents were the ones to feed, caress, and be the entire world.
       The mother‟s disappearance causes anxiety, then suffering, and despair, and her
reappearance in the person of Miranda is like a resurrection, motherly warmth that provides a bliss.
The panic that he might lose her has been growing within him.

   ―You want to lean on me. I can feel it. I expect it‘s your mother. You‘re looking for your
   I don‘t believe in all that staff, I said.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.59)

       In his adult life he develops a longing and to satisfy it, he starts clumsily, like a „collector”
to look for someone only for him.
       At first, he does not realize that with her help he will awake himself...Starving, possessed by
his longing and hope for fulfillment in an ecstatic symbiosis. Losing his self to the passion of love,
he denounces himself, resigns his power and control over the happiness and suffering.
   ―No one would believe this situation. He keeps me ‗absolutely‘ prisoner. But in everything
   else I am mistress. I realize that he encourages it, it‘s a means of keeping me from being as
   discontented as I should be.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.138)

       Later this torment will boarder with death, for his passion will brush against death. Over the
entangled-in-loverly-embrace bodies of lovers, Eros and Thanatos are shaking their hands. This is
a sort of death, a melt of the own self within another. A complete sacrifice, madness that enables to
re-experience a mythological platonic oneness of the beings.
       The presence differs from the past in its obsession about individualism. Freedom of an
individual is not a privilege of a few        but the right exercised by all. This superpower of
individualism has both its advantages and disadvantages.
       On one hand, a man who is terrified of freedom, lost in the chaos of possibilities and desires
and temptations, may become blocked and withdrawn. The symptom of such a fear and resignation
might be a depression.
       A sense of emptiness, such as the one present in Clegg, and the paralysis of emotions may
sabotage happy and healthy interpersonal relationships. Initially, Clegg wants to control his
emotions, but in the extreme he cut himself off from them so much that he ceases to feel. How does
one reconcile this with passion? The same as one reconciles natural but animal-like human impulses
locked in a cage. They sometimes escape their confinement and tear a human being apart. A sudden
explosion of long held back emotions may take a shape of a flaming romance or turn into an
obsessive passion.
       On the other hand, the current reality tempts and stirs a desire for consumption, gathering of
emotions, experiencing extreme situations. Proper, quiet love seems to be an old-fashioned model.
One desires to be on the fast track, full of extraordinary adventures. What in the Middle Ages was a
scandalous and exceptional to the point of becoming an archetype myth, today, love between
Tristan and Isolda seems to be only a romantic dream.
       The mad love breaks all the barriers, even the law when Tristan and the king‟s wife, Izolda,
fall in love after drinking a magic elixir. The magic takes over as the humankind would understand
it. The Kind that knows so much about Cosmos and human genome but still cannot fathom the
origin of love. Chemistry? Charm? Magic? The very name from the latin pati, meaning suffer,
foreshadows where it usually leads.
       Despite of all this, for many it is an essence of existence. To fall in love to madness, to
death. Societies treat crimes of passion with leniency, expressing their compassion and
understanding in this way. In such an easy identification with a criminal there hides a subconscious
fear mixed with… desire? After all, it may happen to everyone. Hence, also a lenient judgment and
an attempt to understand the “collector”.
       Intense romance, which is occasionally an escape form other more difficult feelings and
situations, might also become a liberation, since it allows for a contact with difficult and deeply
concealed human drives. It sometimes helps to reveal another true self. Such strong sensations
(even if connected with a lifetime error) allow to experience a deeper dimension of human
existence. Afterwards one may experience a fuller and real life. This is connected with the flight of
mythical Icarus. From the time immemorial, people could take advantage of the potential hazards,
for instance fire. People say that one can get burned in love or get tougher in the line of fire.
Because why would the sensual power of passion serve a civilized society? Why do the human
beings succumb to this pulsing force despite the reason and the proper norms and rules of conduct?
       According to the newest American research, the Harvard students build their future around
an impressive resume. What is the most valuable for them is a professional career and not a
romance. Love moves into the background. One can only wonder if such a strategy will bring them
happiness and protect them from emotional tragedies? One may have serious doubts about that. A
properly planned existence may secure safety and peace but it will never bring a more profound
sense or exciting satisfaction. Life without passion is barren but not a lot easier.
       Sometimes one has to lose his head in order to find it later on. As someone once stated, God
in his goodness gave us reason so we could be wise enough to know when not to use it. American
actress Mae West made even a braver statement by saying that erring is human but feeling is divine.
       Ferdinand Clegg – height: average, color of eyes: undetermined, distinguishing marks: none.
The character created by John Fowles is insomuch demonic as it is real, full of contradictions,
evoking compassion and disgust at the same time.
       His mediocrity has grown a hatred for everything that is beautiful and free. He kidnaps a
woman of his life and when she stubbornly refuses to love him, he causes her death.
       Upon her death he says his prayer like an absurd manifest of a conservative who takes
himself for a liberal. To the very end he does not realize his obsession and mental deviation but he
can properly analyze the emotional state of his victim, who despises him. This subconsciously felt
contempt amplifies his madness and cruelty, which leads to a tragic end. The executioner is not
punished but will probably find another victim.
Clegg initiates a reverse process during which the butterfly will return to its larval stage.
       It is not just tortures but also a lesson. One can fall in love with the evil but has the evil the
right to love? What will it take? And what will it give?
       Fowles gives his victim an illusive advantage and tempts with a possible salvation when he
perversely asks, is it so terrible to be someone‟s property? He suggests at the same time that it is
typical of every relationship between a man and a woman, the only difference lies in the degree of
mutual addiction.

3.2. Miranda Grey

       <>>The beginning of the chapter indicates that people desire what theycannot have at the
moment. If the object of one‟s desire is within reach, peopledo not appreciate it and very often do
not even care about it. Even if mennurture their health, freedom, or other immaterial things, they
realize the needfor them only after they have lost them. Like a convict sitting on the deathrow, they
think how much they could still accomplish if they were given a chanceto live.
       Ponderings of Miranda Grey, a person captured and imprisoned by madman, Frederic Clegg,
are the best material for considering the sense and value of life from the position of a prison cell
inmate, without any noise made by civilization and media that can easily influence the way how to
“think properly”.   Knowledge gathered by and experiences of her 20-year life are sufficient data to
formulate accurate thoughts.
       Youth, sensitivity to beauty….and captivity, the juxtaposition thereof has been emitting pain
and a sense of revolting from the very beginning. Talented art student full of love for life, she wants
some brightness in her life, she wants to be loved and she loves space and the fragrance of fresh air
– is imprisoned! Not without a reason did Fowles paint this “butterfly”. Any other character in such
a situation would never evoke such strong emotions.
       Chapter II of “The Collector” is Miranda‟s diary. She starts describing her captivity on the
seventh day since the imprisonment. She depicts the same events from her point of view. The writer
employs a very interesting technique, which enables the reader to have a more piercing look into the
whole story, thus providing the reader-“the judge” new data in accordance with the “audiatur et
altera pars" rule in order to clear the entire situation and remove any doubts that might have arisen.
       The language used by Miranda is quite different from the apologetic and primitive language
directed at justification of his deeds used by Clegg in Chapter I. It is brilliant, rich, reflective, never
conclusive but leaving a space for the reader‟s own judgment.
       In this part of the novel, Fowles demonstrates his writing skills. Despite wonderful thoughts
uttered by Miranda, Fowles does not forget about her young age and short life experience, thus
making her thoughts more provocative and inspiring discussion. In this masterly way, he does not
make a mentor out of a young and sensitive woman, but creates a friend with whom one can talk
about many interesting subjects. The key thoughts are quotes of George Paston, who becomes
Miranda‟s alter ego.
       Describing different situations, with his pen like a painter‟s brush, Fowles places his words
sparingly on a paper canvas, but he chooses them carefully, creating a wonderful composition
worth of pondering over. He devotes a plenty of space to trauma, which Miranda experiences and
to the oppressor, who is to become her executioner. Miranda reminisces, analyzes the past
experiences of her life, externalizes her attitude toward God, talks about her fascinations, returns to
the people she knows, and with a growing reverence she talks about her love which is maturing in
her. But above anything else, she craves for freedom like a brutally captured butterfly which is
removed from a flowery sunny meadow and placed into a dungeon. She arrives at conclusions
which, given the circumstances, bear more weight and scale. Her thoughts and principles undergo a
peculiar revolution, which is the way Fowles wants to express his philosophical views on questions
concerning religion, social class division, literature, painting, love, and most of all freedom. In the
young and bold opinions of Miranda‟s there is a protest against conformism:
   There were the few of us who cared, and there were the silly ones, the snobbish ones, the
   would-be debutantes and the daddy‘s darlings and the horsophiles and the sex-cats. I‘ll
   never go back to Ladymont. Because I couldn‘t stand that suffocating atmosphere of the
   ‗done‘ thing and the ‗right‘ people and the ‗nice‘ behaviour.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971,

She also expresses her revolt and unutterable sorrow for the immerging consumption lifestyle in so-
called “New People”.

   ―I hate what G.P. calls the New People, the new-class people with their cars and their
   money and their tallies and their stupid vulgarities and their stupid crawling imitation of
   the bourgeoisie. (…)
   I said (…) I‘d rather we had the New People than poor people.
   He said, the New People are still the poor people. Theirs is the new form of poverty. The
   others hadn‘t any money and these haven‘t any soul.(…)
   …I feel it myself more and more, this awful deadweight of the fat little New People on
   everything. Vulgarizing everything. Raping the countryside, as D says in his squire moods.
   Everything mass-produced. Mass-everything.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.207-208)

       She expresses her disapproval of attitudes that do not understand a truly English
conservatism but mistake it thoughtlessly with traditionalism having a tendency to oppose any
upcoming change. Nothing further from the truth, at least if this conservative trend is connected
with its pioneer, Edmund Burke. His interpretation of conservatism means a constant change,
evolution, opposition to tearing down the whole world and building it from the beginning. Every
generation is an heir of the previous generations and it also borrows from the generations to come.
If the heritage of the ancestors is to be disregarded, one can not expect the durability of the entire
work created by the future generations. One may take a risk at saying that Fowles‟ literary
composition is built on the personal and social phobias of commercial trends, of soulless and widely
spread trash and mediocrity.
       Miranda Grey‟s imprisonment is tantamount to an attempt to imprison Beauty and
Sensitivity by kitsch and commercial trash. This is a fight between Ignorance and Artificiality
against Honesty and Freedom. This is a struggle between Jealousy and Envy against the Purity of
Creation. And last not the least, a hymn of Freedom, which will never be part of those who in the
name of their particular interests do not see another man, or those for whom everything that is
human becomes oddly strange since by enslaving the others they enslave themselves.

3.2.1 Freedom
       Freedom, the word that has very often appeared on the banners spread to the sky by various
armies of this world, is a key word that frequently reappears and deeply sets into the human minds;
“it‟s better die in a battle than live without freedom”(Fromm 1993:21).
       The manifestation of this view can be easily traced in time. One may encounter difficulties
however, when trying to define this long-sought-after freedom. It is not difficult to notice though,
that every human being has a different vision of freedom and understands something else behind
this term. It can produce different images or different associations in people. In every human being
this word will strike different string and resonates with a different amplitude.
       Since in its conception, philosophy as a science has been struggling with the problem of
freedom. It has tried to define this notion and once it is done, it has been showing different paths to
the realization of human desire for freedom. Questions have still been raised and every answer to
them seems to spur another set of doubts in this never ending process.
       It is certain that absolute freedom as such does not exist since people are restricted by the
laws of physics for example or they are limited by their own body.
There is a generally accepted distinction between being free to do something and being free from
something. This is an influence of the outlook of previously quoted Erich Fromm. Such a
distinction does not contribute to a better understanding of this problem. A better division is offered
by Kant, who sees it in terms of a negative and a positive concept. Arbitrariness is a satisfaction of
one‟s drives, an unfettered will to do what one desires, a capricious freedom. Liberty is a type of
freedom that allows individuals to exercise their rights within existing laws and rules.
       The true freedom of an individual contains a limitation of egocentrism and egoism. A
Weltanschauung freedom gives in a consequence a subordination of one‟s own existence to a
selected hierarchy of values. A totalitarian system will always decide on this issue without any input
form society. This results in the formation of conformist attitudes that corrupt the human character
and personality. Conformism, when becoming a commonly spread phenomenon, should be treated
as a warning of a disappearing freedom.
       Freedom can be defined as a lack of duress, a situation in which one can make one‟s
selections from a limitless realm of possibilities.
       Ignoring a number of paths that lead to understanding the idea of freedom, one should posit
a question which is fundamental to the analysis of Fowles‟ book. Is the desire to be free an
inseparable part of human nature? Can freedom become a cumbersome ballast that people want to
discard or reject?
       It may seem that these questions are absurd and the answer to them is rather obvious.
Certainly, most of the respondents would answer “yes” and “no” respectively and such answers
would certainly be considered correct. One should however scrutinize this problem in details so that
the answers could reach the core of the problem.
       When does the freedom begin? When does an individual become free? Erich Fromm points
to an ongoing process of individualization of man, in whom a feeling of subjectivity as well as the
sense of their own self gradually appear, develop and reinforce themselves. He states that the
human being exists, is completely different from the rest of the Kind, and that this differentness is
valuable. Paradoxically, Miranda realizes her sense of freedom in her captivity:

   “Knowing I am rather a special person. Knowing I am intelligent, knowing that I am
   beginning to understand life much better than most people of my age. Even knowing that I
   shall never be so stupid as to be vain about it, but be grateful, be terribly glad (…) to be
   alive, to be who I am – Miranda, and unique.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.145)

       Such a picture of a slow process of liberation, of a free person being born, is however too
idyllic to be true. It lacks a certain problem stressed by Fromm, namely: “perhaps next to the innate
desire of freedom there is a need for subordination?"(Fromm 1993:24). This raises a very
interesting question of escaping from freedom.
       In his polemics with Freud, Fromm introduces a concept according to which the so-called
“human nature” is not and cannot be something static. For Freud an individual appears to be fully
complete, fully developed, and ready. He or she is guided by instincts, which cannot be eradicated
due to their nature, so, they must be integral part of human nature or the nature itself. Actions of an
individuals are directed by urges, complexes, whose sources can be traced in childhood
perturbations. The society in which an individual is forced to live has only a repressive function, it
compels adjustment and restricts the urges, which, in other words , means that it “tames” the
individual. The relation between the individual and society is static in character since the human
nature is de facto unchangeable, formed by biological factors and the human being can only learn
certain behaviors but is not subject to any broader, deeper changes.
       Fromm rejects the Freudian concept by pointing that societies cannot be viewed as an
integral whole, completely separate from an individual with respect to whom it will stand aside. He
stresses the creative character of society and denounces the Freudian thesis of unchangeability of
the individual –society relationship. In Fromm‟s opinion, human nature is subject to continuous
change due to the social and cultural processes in progress. He writes, “The most beautiful and ugly
inclinations of man are not static elements being part of the biological nature of man but a result of
social process which is created by him. (…) Human nature , passions and fears are results of
culture. (Fromm 1993:29).
       Man creates and builds culture and at the same time is influenced by it. Being part of a
society, man contains a part of it within him.
       The presented Fromm‟s concept of the shaping of human nature may lead to conclusion that
a desire for freedom does not arise from the original natural construct of man. Under appropriate
conditions it might never come into existence at all.
       There are many concepts relating to this issue and there will be many new to come in the
future. Uncertainties and doubts will never be fully satisfied and all the answers will always be
hypotheses impossible to be verified. The only practical and possible way of explaining them is a
statement that one is deeply convinced as to their truth. One can simply take it for granted that
people want freedom and abandon any further exploration of this question.
       As to the second question put forward, one should remember that the inevitable process of
individualization consists of two faces. One arising from the growth of one‟s self-esteem, strength,
and inner integration of an individual, the sense of uniqueness. And the other being a result of
becoming independent, cutting off the umbilical cord connecting the individual with the rest of the
world and the fear arising from the process.
       Fear that is caused by a growing sense of loneliness. This original tie that has been cut gave
man some feeling of safety and membership in exchange for limited freedom. There comes a time
that an individual is compelled to self-liberation. He or she will stand against the surrounding
world, which becomes somewhat strange, perhaps even threatening, and most of all they stand face
to face with a frightening vision of loneliness, which stems from so much desired freedom.
       Erich Fromm states, “Feeling of complete loneliness and isolation leads to a psychological
disintegration in precisely the same way as starvation leads to death"(Fromm 1993:35). People
suddenly notice an approaching danger and their way of reasoning is rather simple, the blame for a
growing isolation, which produces a feeling of complete helplessness, is put on the so-called
“unfortunate gift of freedom”. All one must do is simply to depose it…
       It is the time to begin the quest for authority figure, a role model, some lofty idea, an
omnipotent power which will remove the heavy load off the shoulders, the load of one‟s own
choice, responsibility, and the feeling of loneliness will disappear. One must quickly be
subordinated to Someone or Something.
       People want to lose their freedom. Albert Camus, whose works influence Fawles‟
philosophy, writes that “Man is free, so he has to cope with life, but most of all he does not want
freedom and its outcome, he asks for spanking, he creates horrible rules (…). The most important
this is that everything became simple like for children, that every action was superimposed, that
good and evil was defined arbitrarily. (…) Long live any ruler then (…)”(Camus 1975:185).
       People need authorities. For centuries they been fighting for freedom without ever realizing
the consequences of their fights. Authorities and leaders are as indispensable as air. It is not about
the power representing the State, which regulates social relations (though certainly there is a need
for one) but about such power that could release people from the decision making process and
taking responsibility for their own actions. Of course, people will rebel against the world, against
any restriction and infringement upon their freedom, but only until they realize that they succumb to
the authority that they themselves have chosen.
       An authority figure can be any person, institution, God, conscience, anything that an
individual decides to be subordinated to or anything so considered.
Even in a complete seclusion people are able to create a ruler, whom they will worship, and whose
orders they will obey, thus creating an illusion of growing freedom.

3.2.2 Imprisoned “butterfly”.

   ―I am one in a row of specimens. It‘s when I try to flutter out of line that he hates me. I‘m
   meant to be dead, pinned, always the same, always beautiful. He knows that part of my
   beauty is being alive, but it‘s the dead me he wants. He wants me living-but-dead. I felt it
   terribly strongly today. That my being alive and changing and having a separate mind and
   having moods and all that was becoming a nuisance. (…) He showed me one day what he
   called his killing-bottle. I‘m imprisoned in bit. Fluttering against the glass. Because I can
   see through it I still think I can escape. I have hope. But it‘s all an illusion.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.203-204)

       Like a perfect psychologist, Fowles recreates an emotional picture of a captured “butterfly”.
Her attempts to “spread her wings” interlaced with the moments of mental breakdown and deep
sorrow, strange euphoria and a gradual loss of hope. Her willingness to live and fear of losing her
life, her rise toward the sun and fall down into the darkness. Fruitless attempts to regain her
freedom and ensuing dramas. Her change and maturation in the atmosphere of fear of another day.
Her inner “metamorphosis” into a beautiful but imprisoned “butterfly”…

   ―I looked in the mirror today and I could see it in my eyes. They look much older and
   younger. It sounds impossible in words. But that‘s exactly it. I am older and younger. I am
   older because I have learnt, I am younger because a lot of me consisted of things older
   people had taught me. All the mud of their stale ideas on the shoe of me.
   The new shoe of me.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.248)
       Despite a horrible tragedy concocted by her fate, Miranda tries to “live” on. The bars of her
golden cage become more and more overwhelming from day to day like a dense net encircling a
struggling butterfly. She misses light and air and continuously looks for a way out because her will
to live is too strong to surrender.
She enjoys very bit of freedom that she receives from her guard, relishing it as though it was a fancy
meal. She tastes the air, which her artistic soul inhales with every fiber of her lungs…

    ―A lovely night-walk. There were great reaches of clear sky, no moon, sprinkles of warm
    white stars everywhere, like milky diamonds, and a beautiful wind. From the west. I made
    him take me round and round, ten or twelve times. The branches rustling, an owl hooting in
    the woods. And the sky all wild, all free, all wind and air and space and stars.‖ (―The
    Collector‖ 1971, p.182)

The cellar in which she lives is equipped sufficiently well and her guard keeps adding new objects
to make the captivity more tolerable.

3.2.3 GOD

       Looking for a role model, some enormous force that could break the shackles constricting
her body, at first Miranda turns to God. She prays for His help but she is not innerly convinced as to
the sense of her prayers and begins to contemplate of the existence of God.

    Every night I do something I haven‘t done for years. I lie and pray. I don‘t kneel, I know
    God despises kneelers.(…)
    I don‘t know if I believe in God. I prayed to him furiously In the van when I thought I was
    going to die ( that‘s a prove against, I can hear G.P. saying). But praying makes things
    easier.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.119)

       In extreme situations many people turn to God in their prayers for help. This might be a
result, as previously presented, of conscious surrender to someone who could decide and direct their
life for them. This infamous “escape from freedom” has usually origin in ordinary fear, which in the
described case is paralyzing, fear of losing life.

      ―I was grateful to be alive. I am a terrible coward, I don‘t want to die, I love life so
      passionately, I never knew how much I wanted to live before. If I get out of this, I shall
      never be the same.
      I don‘t care what he does. So long as I live.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.118)
       At the moment of total destruction of her comfortable and predictable world, Miranda grasps
a tiny grain of hope, which is the only help she can receive. She is overtaken by a strong fear,
emptiness and panic, when she realizes that her peaceful world begins to collapse, which makes her
raise her both arms toward God.

    ―I‘ve always known where I‘m going, how I want things to happen. And they have
    happened as I have wanted, and I have taken it for granted that they have because I know
    where I‘m going. But I have been lucky in all sorts of things.
    I‘ve always tried to happen to life; but it‘s time I let life to happen to me.‖ (―The Collector‖
    1971, p.240)

       Logical thinking that is deeply coded in her psyche would never turn to such an authority
blindly. Her thinking starts to evolve and matures. She becomes a grown up and believes in God the
creator but most likely her entire religiousness undergoes reevaluation pushing ahead philosophical
aspect of existentialism. After a series of traumatic event, she begins to revolt and negates her

    ―I‘ve sitting here and thinking about God. I don‘t think I believe in God any more. It is not
    only me, I think of all the millions who must have lived like this in the war. The Ann Franks.
    And back through history. What I feel I know now is that God doesn‘t intervene. He lets us
    suffer. If you pray for liberty then you may get belief just because you pray, or because
    things happen anyhow which bring you liberty. But God can‘t hear.‖ (―The Collector‖
    1971, p.222)

       What makes people reject such a help in the end is a total lack of any response from God.
For many, the suffering of millions in concentration camps during World War II, was a reason
strong enough to abandon their faith. Miranda calls for Anna Frank, who was one of the most
prominent martyrs of the Jewish nation. Her life, like the life of many millions of nameless victims
of the Nazi regime, evokes resentment toward God, who could have prevented this tragedy.
       Many terrified and lost in the Vastness and Infinity maintain that this is a result of a godly
design, which one should succumb to and unquestionably trust. Putting the entire theological
discussion aside, one ought to focus on the psychological aspect of the phenomena such as religion,
which is strictly linked to the topic of this discussion.
       How could this inclination toward apparently irrational views evolve? There are several
possible ways in which faith could be an adaptation. Many of human abilities are adaptations to
some permanent properties of the real world, for instance, man has an innate fear of snakes because
they are poisonous and frightening.
       Perhaps there exists a god who is caring, invisible, who works miracles, who praises and
rebukes, and perhaps human beings are equipped with a “chip” to communicate with him.
       In such an event, success in life should be proportional to the virtue and human suffering
proportional to sin. It is doubtful that anybody has done some appropriate research to prove this
hypothesis but from a simple observation one may infer that it is wrong. There are also other more
plausible attempts to explain religion in terms of biological adaptation.
       The first explanation is that religion brings consolation. The concepts of gracious shepherd,
universal plan, life after death, or reward and punishment soften the pain of being a man; these
consoling thoughts put people in a better frame of mind.
       Mirada treats her prayers purely as a soothing element for her psyche, however the question
why the mind would find a consolation in falsehood remains.
In general, no one is so easily deceived. Why is that true in case of religion? This simply requires an
       Another hypothesis states that religion binds the community. This is certainly true. But then
again a question comes into mind, why? Why would a belief in Spirit or religion be indispensable in
cementing communities, if one of the aims of evolution is a unity of people against common
enemies? Why isn‟t trust, or loyalty, or friendship, or solidarity sufficient enough? There is no a
priori reason to expect that a belief in Spirit or Soul or a ritual will solve the problem of how to
convince a group of people to cooperate.
       The third explanation is that religion is a source of higher ethics. Some people will claim
that religion and science can co-exist, knowing the argument that science can never say what human
moral values should be, which is a problem that is dealt with by religious faith.
       A huge problem of this hypothesis is obvious to anyone who has read the Bible, the book of
violence, genocide, and destruction, as well as anyone who knows the human history.
       Religions have given the human race stoning, witch burning, crusades, inquisitions, jihad,
suicide bombers, homophobic fanatics, murderers killing abortion doctors, and mothers who drown
their own children, so that they all can be happily reunited in Heaven.
       Does one really have to look for moral sources in religions? Psychologists have identified
universal moral values such as love, compassion, generosity, shame, guilt, and indignation.
Believing in spirits and angels does not have to have anything to do with that. Philosophers –
moralists who analyze this have shown that it is logically rooted in the human exchangeability of
interests. Vengeful, human-like god who dispenses justice has no place in human explanations of
the logic of the morality.
       In order to answer the question “Why is Homo Sapiens inclined toward religious faith?”
one should reformulate it to “Who is profiting from it?”.
Another way of putting that is to differentiate between profits for religious beliefs makers, the so-
called religious establishment, and profits for the religious consumers, the congregation.
       In both cases the answer can be different. One ought to separate the question “What is good
about spreading religious beliefs by priests, shamans, etc?” from the question “What is good about
accepting religious beliefs by a congregation?”.
       Many anthropologists have shown the benefits received by those who disseminate religious
beliefs. One of the common components of every religion is the cult of ancestors. The cult of
ancestors must be an attractive idea when a person is on a death path and knows that soon he will
become one of them. Among different humiliations of the old age is the one that a man will not be
around. If it is possible to convince the others that he will still look after their business, even after
death, they will receive a stimulus to give their past ancestor a much better treatment and a greater
respect up to the last gasp.
       Food taboo is also commonly spread in religions and one can explain it with psychology of
preferences and food aversion.
       A willingness to control is probably the main cause. Since the neighboring groups prefer
different food, if a member of a particular group has been stopped from eating the food favored by
the neighbors, then he will be kept in his group coalition.
       The passing rituals are another characteristic of religions. Many social decisions have to be
categorical in nature: either yes or no, everyone or no one. Human biology, however, is blurred and
flexible. A baby does not go to bed in the evening, and does not wake up like an adult in the
morning. It is though more convenient to consider a given person an adult on one arbitrarily
selected day, then discuss the degree of maturity of every individual each time when he wants to
make a “mature” decision. The religious passing rituals delineate different stages of life serving the
similar function in society as a legal “right to…” or other forms of age identification.
       Costly initiations or sacrifices are also present in almost all religions of the world. A
common problem in maintaining cooperation in a group is the distinction between people
altruistically devoted to the coalition, from parasites and free-riders. The only way to check who is a
true devotee, is to find out who is ready to make a costly sacrifice for the group. Baptism,
circumcision, or other much more horrible examples gathered from all over the world, are a distinct
verification of a true connection to a particular group.
           These practical benefits unveil slightly the secret why people like to entice others to a
religion, without stating any concrete biological adaptation to religion. Thus, instilling a religious
faith would be a by-product of those more earthly reasons.
           And what about the other side of this transaction, namely the consumer? Why do they buy
it? One of the reasons is the necessity of respecting the experts. This is the very nature of
competence. When people are sick, they go to the doctor‟s so that they can entrust him their own
body and expect some help. It requires some faith. Of course, in such a situation, their faith is
rational but the respect, if manipulated, may lead to some irrational respect, which in a broader
context might, in fact, become adaptational.
There are also some emotional predispositions that evolved from a variety of causes and are a
byproduct of human inclination toward religious beliefs.
           Ethnographic research has shown that when people attempt to communicate with God, they
do not do it to share their wisdoms or gossips, they ask for their children‟s or their own healing,
perhaps for success in business, or in the battlefield.
           The concept of prayer as defined in The Devil‟s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, states that
to pray is to ask for annulment of laws of the Universe for a single individual who admits not to be
worth it. This aspect of religious faith is only a desperate measure, which people take when the
stakes are high and they have exhausted all the traditional ways of achieving success.
           Those are some emotional predispositions which make people a fertile ground for religious
           In general, this widely spread predilection for religious faith remains a scientific mystery.
           There is an alternative explanation, from the psychological point of view religion is a by-
product of many parts of the brain, which have developed for different purposes. Among these
purposes one can distinguish the benefits for the maker and for the consumer. Religion has obvious
practical outcome for the maker. When it comes to the consumer, there are possible emotional
adaptations in the desire for health, love, and success; possible cognitive adaptations in psychology
of intuition; and many aspects of experience, which seem to deliver evidence for the existence of
spirits. A proper arrangement of all these can produce an attractive and mysterious world of spirits,
which can fulfill whishes and dreams.
           Does patching Miranda‟s psychological weaknesses with God produce A desired result?
           Despite the pain of captivity and of overwhelming loneliness she does not try to sneak into
God‟s grace on her knees. She does not feel the need to contact Him, who as she admits exists but
"can‘t know anything about us"(―The Collector‖ 1971, p.223).
       This makes her reflect, assess her own situation, and verify her earlier view on religious
faith. In the trial by fire, God appears remote and busy with something else, perhaps attending to his
flatterers and courtiers.

    ―There‘s nothing human like hearing or seeing or pitying or helping about him. I mean
    perhaps God has created the world and the fundamental laws of matter and evolution. But
    he can‘t care about the individuals. He‘s planned it so some individual are happy, some
    sad, some lucky, some not. Who is sad, who is not, he doesn‘t know‘ and he doesn‘t care. So
    he doesn‘t exist, really.
    These last few days I‘ve felt Godless. I‘ve felt cleaner, less muddled, less blind. I still
    believe in God. But he‘s so remote, so cold, so mathematical. I see that we have to live as if
    there is no God. Prayer and worship and singing hymns – all silly and useless.‖ (―The
    Collector‖ 1971, p.222-223)

       The state of her faith is a state of captivity-evoked fluctuating emotions. On the verge of her
endurance she is engulfed by the abyss of bitterness. In a hopeless sorrow she presents her feelings
for God, making Him fully responsible for the evil of his own doing, Clegg. Depressed and sick,
she casts her painful accusations without leaving any room for understanding or justification of

    ―I hate God. I hate whatever made this world, I hate whatever made the human race, made
    man like Caliban possible and situations like this possible.
    If there is a God he‘s a great loathsome spider in the darkness. He c a n n o t b e g o o
    d. (…)
    God is impotent. He can‘t love us.. He hates us because he can‘t love us.‖ (―The Collector‖
    1971, p.255)

       Such God is very similar to Clegg. He is the one who exercises his hateful and soulless
power of a tyrant over her. He is the one to hate because he cannot love. Like a huge, disgusting
spider lurking in the dark, he awaits his victim, a beautiful butterfly, to get entangled in his cobweb
for life. He feels every movement of his morbid network so as to thwart any attempt to flee.


       The relationship between the victim and the executioner changes several times during the
captivity. The promise of freedom made by Clegg gives Miranda some hope for enduring this
psychological ordeal. Living with a looming end of this nightmare, Miranda tries to survive in these
terrible conditions.
       Her vitality is apparent in her contact with her oppressor. She is afraid of him because she
sees his insanity. Despite that she senses his social class complex and she tries to help him. In many
walks of life with which Clegg can never come to grasp, she tries to sensitize his soul so she could
see some change in him, while putting all her hatred aside. She does not want to have anything to
do with him and wants to be on the opposite end form him, but still there is something that she find
fascinating about him. She cannot define this feeling, which brings to light a completely different
side of her, which she has not known.

   ―It‘s weird. Uncanny. But there is a sort of relationship between us. I make fun of him, I
   attack him all the time, but he senses when I‘m ‗soft‘. (…) It‘s partly because I‘m so lonely,
   it‘s partly deliberate (I want to make him relax, both for his own good and so that one day
   he may make a mistake), so it‘s part weakness, and part cunning, and part charity. But
   there is a mysterious fourth part I can‘t define. It can‘t be friendship, I loathe him.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.140)

       The interest in her guard is no part of any noble feelings, but seems to be rather a specific
experience in which Miranda unwillingly participates. She has come into possession of some
information of his life because he was her only “companion” during her captivity, which causes her
to feel some indescribable “closeness”. Even from this dark side of life she draws a valuable lesson.

   ―A strange thought: I would not want this not to have happened. Because if I escape I shall
   be completely different and I think better person. Because if I don‘t escape, If something
   dreadful happened, I shall still know that the person I was and would have stayed if this
   hadn‘t happened was not the person I now want to be.
   It‘s like firing a pot. You have to risk the cracking and the warping.‖ (―The Collector‖
   1971, p.251)

       Both willingness to fight for freedom and rebellion against the terror explode into an inner
imperative for seeking radical means of regaining her freedom, such as escape, and not coming into
agreement with the enemy. She begins to think about violent acts. At first, they make her “bend her
knees”. In her determination to live, she changes her view on this problem. Parting with God who is
not able or willing to help her, she concludes that one must fight for life only with more or less
humane means in the name of happiness.

   I‘m trying to explain why I‘m breaking with my principles ( about never committing
   violence). It is still my principle, but I see you have to break principles sometimes to
   survive. It‘s no good trusting vaguely in your luck, in Providence or God‘s being kind to
   you. You have to act and fight for yourself.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p. 223)
       At the time of an extreme depression, Miranda goes as far as to try to kill her oppressor.
Seeing that he does not watch her, she gets a hold of an axe. Her pacifist nature voices an
everlasting dilemma, “if I do not kill him, he will kill me”. She stampedes her peacefulness and
attacks. Her will to be free has won! To kill for freedom! A moment of hesitation is sufficient for
her oppressor to be able to fend her barrage. Blood, struggle, and a painful defeat.

   ―I‘m ashamed. I let myself down vilely.
   I‘ve come to a series of decisions. Thoughts.
   Violence and force are wrong. If I use violence I descend to his level. It means that I have
   no real belief in the power of reason, and sympathy and humanity.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971,

       Living in this dissonance, the “captured butterfly” is still motivated not to lose her identity.
She does not want to allow her contempt for this disgusting individual to prevent her from admiring
sunsets and sunrises in the dark blue sky. She cannot allow him to kill her inner beauty.
       At this point, one can feel tempted to recall the report of a certain psychological experiment,
whose findings are shocking in that they provide an explanation of the extent of Miranda‟s inner
strength that kept her for going insane. This experiment also explains Clegg‟s attitude. He, the
guard, also undergoes metamorphosis; from a polite, clumsy youth, who is desperately in love, he
changes to a psychopath, whose only sense of life is to keep his callimorpha in captivity.
       In 1971, Philip Zimbardo, a social psychologist at the Stanford University in California, and
his associates announced in a newspaper that they were looking for students to participate in their
experiment (Zimbardo 1972). The participants were to receive 15 dollars per hour.
       After clinical testing, twenty one young men showing a great mental health were selected.
Trying to recreate conditions of a regular prison-cell, Philip Zimbardo conducted this experiment in
the underground cellars of the Psychology Department building in Stanford.
       In his own “prison” he placed the group of normal, mature, mentally-balanced, and
intelligent young men. The participants knew that they would pretend to be prison inmates and
guards. Since everybody wanted to be a prisoner, Zimbardo selected the guards randomly by tossing
a coin. Half of them were guards, and the remaining half was prisoners. They were to stay in that
capacity for 14 days. This is what happened.
       Some sunny Californian Sunday a siren‟s high pitch woke Tommy Whitlow, a university
student. A police cruiser came to a squalling stop in front of his house. Within a few minutes
Tommy was charged with committing a crime, he was informed about his constitutional rights, and
then searched and handcuffed. At the police station, he was registered, fingerprinted, and then
blindfolded, and transported to the Stanford district prison, where he was stripped naked,
disinfected, and issued a shabby uniform with an identification plate. Tommy became a prisoner No
647. Nine other students were also arrested and given identification numbers.
       In khaki uniforms, with no name tags, and wearing silvery sunglasses, the guards stayed
anonymous. Prisoner No 647 could never see their eyes and he was supposed to address each of the
guards by “correctional officer”, for the guards he was only No 647.
The guards insisted that the prisoners obey all the rules without ever asking questions. Every
insubordination led to the loss of some privilege. At first, these privileges included reading writing,
and talking to other prisoners. Later into the experiment even the slightest protest would lead to the
loss of such “privileges” as eating, sleeping, and washing. Disobeying the rules would also result in
doing some thoughtless and humiliating exercises and spending hours on end in a solitary
confinement. The guards continuously invented new ways of making the prisoners feel worthless.
       Every guard with whom the prisoner No 647 came in touch during his imprisonment, would
display some authoritative and humiliating behavior at some point. The main difference between the
guards was in the frequency with which they expressed their hatred toward the prisoners.
       After 36 hours from the initial arrest, the prisoner No 8412, who was a leader of a failed
mutiny on that day, suffered from uncontrollable crying, fits of anger, disorganization of thoughts,
and serious depression. In the following days, similar symptoms were developed in three other
prisoners. A fifth prisoner developed a psychosomatic rash over his entire body, when a parole
board rejected his application for early release.
       “The prisoners” stayed in prison for the entire time, while the guards worked the typical
eight-hour shifts. University students, who were pacifists and “nice guys”, were really aggressive
and at times sadistic in their new role. Mentally stable students acting as prisoners very quickly
started to develop a pathological behavior, passively resigning to the unknown fate and displaying a
great amount of hopelessness.
       These stimulated prison conditions created new reality – a real prison – in the psyche of the
guard and the prisoners.
   Due to the dramatic and unexpected emotional behaviors of the prisoners, the psychologists were
forced to end their experiment prematurely. This is a statement by Zimbardo, given after the

   " The guards were given no specific training on how to be guards. Instead they were free,
   within limits, to do whatever they thought was necessary to maintain law and order in the
   prison and to command the respect of the prisoners. The guards made up their own set of
   rules, which they then carried into effect under the supervision of Warden David Jaffe, an
   undergraduate from Stanford University. They were warned, however, of the potential
   seriousness of their mission and of the possible dangers in the situation they were about to
   enter, as, of course, are real guards who voluntarily take such a dangerous job. The guards
   were given no specific training on how to be guards. Instead they were free, within limits, to
   do whatever they thought was necessary to maintain law and order in the prison and to
   command the respect of the prisoners. The guards made up their own set of rules, which they
   then carried into effect under the supervision of Warden David Jaffe, an undergraduate from
   Stanford University. They were warned, however, of the potential seriousness of their
   mission and of the possible dangers in the situation they were about to enter, as, of course,
   are real guards who voluntarily take such a dangerous job. Every aspect of the prisoners'
   behavior fell under the total and arbitrary control of the guards. Even going to the toilet
   became a privilege which a guard could grant or deny at his whim. Indeed, after the nightly
   10:00 P.M. lights out "lock-up," prisoners were often forced to urinate or defecate in a
   bucket that was left in their cell. On occasion the guards would not allow prisoners to empty
   these buckets, and soon the prison began to smell of urine and feces - further adding to the
   degrading quality of the environment. . . . The guards again escalated very noticeably their
   level of harassment, increasing the humiliation they made the prisoners suffer, forcing them
   to do menial, repetitive work such as cleaning out toilet bowls with their bare hands. The
   guards had prisoners do push-ups, jumping jacks, whatever the guards could think up. . . . At
   this point it became clear that we had to end the study. We had created an overwhelmingly
   powerful situation - a situation in which prisoners were withdrawing and behaving in
   pathological ways, and in which some of the guards were behaving sadistically. Even the
   "good" guards felt helpless to intervene, and none of the guards quit while the study was in
   progress. Indeed, it should be noted that no guard ever came late for his shift, called in sick,
   left early, or demanded extra pay for overtime work.
   I ended the study prematurely for two reasons. First, we had learned through videotapes that
   the guards were escalating their abuse of prisoners in the middle of the night when they
   thought no researchers were watching and the experiment was off ―.(Zimbardo 1972)

       Although Tommy Whitlow would like to go through that again, he has come to appreciate
this experience because he has learned a great deal about human nature and himself.
       All of the participants have learned one thing: one can never ignore the possibility of evil
side of an individual taking control over his entire behavior if a bad situation in which the
individual found himself calls for it, no matter how intelligent and well-bred they might be.
       At the end of the Stanford prison experiment both the guards and the prisoners differed in
every observable aspect. The random assignment of their roles decided on the participants‟ fate and
these roles created differences as to the participants‟ position and power, which in turn formed two
social classes that thought differently, felt differently, and acted in a different way.
       The participants were never taught how to behave. Each of them, based of their life
schemata, could become a potential prisoner of guard. Each individual has learned something about
the interaction between the powerful and the helpless.
       The guard type represents those who restrict the freedom of the prisoner type in order to
induce certain predicable behaviors. This task requires an application of some rules that are based
on compulsion with a system of rewards and punishments.
       The prisoners can only react to the structure of this prison-like environment created by those
invested with power. The choice that the prisoners have is to be submissive or to rebel. Rebellion
leads to a punishment, while submission causes the loss of autonomy and dignity. Some of the
prisoners went far beyond their tactical submission and reconciled with their helplessness, passively
waiting for this situation to change.
       The student participating in the experiment had experience such differences in terms of the
possessed power in the past in many social relationships such as parent-child, teacher-student,
doctor-patient, superior-subordinate, and man-woman.
       They were only improving and intensifying their scenarios for each particular situation.
Each of them could play either role. Many of the students participating in the experiment said that
they had found some pleasure in possessing power over others and needed only a uniform to be
transformed into guards taming the prisoners.
       If a public survey were conducted asking people about “what prison guard they would
make?” or “what type of prisoner they would be?” , probably all the respondents would like to
believe that they would be good guards and heroic prisoners. The findings of the Stanford prison
experiment indicate that, despite their optimistic inclinations, the majority of the respondents would
be on the negative side of the good-bad, hero-victim dichotomy.
       The findings are not good news, they are however the wisdom which the psychologists are
trying to pass on in hope that this knowledge may become an antidote for a thoughtless submission
to greater forces which are present in many social situations and which shape the human behaviors.
       In light of this experiment, Miranda‟s attitude is clearer and more understandable. Her
sudden changes in approaching certain questions are a consequence of a prison syndrome. She starts
her struggle for survival and does not want to give up. She knows that a resignation means the death
of her soul. Her “good” relationship with Clegg is nothing but a natural human need at the moment
of a total lack of contact with another human being.

   ―He always asks me if he may stay. Sometimes I feel so lonely, so sick of my own thoughts,
   that I let him. I w a n t him to stay. That‘s what prison does.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971,

    ―I‘m getting desperate to escape. I can‘t get any relief from drawing or playing records or
   reading. The burning, burning need I have (all prisoners must have) is for other people.
   Caliban is only half a person at the best of times. I want to see dozens and dozens of strange
   faces. Like being terribly thirsty and gulping down glass after glass of water. Exactly like
   that. I read once that nobody can stand more than ten years in prison, or more than one
   year of solitary confinement.
   One just can‘t imagine what prison is like from outside. You think, well, there‘d be lots of
   time to think and read, it wouldn‘t be too bad. But it is too bad. It‘s the slowness of time. I‘ll
   swear all the clocks in the world have gone centuries slower since I came here.‖ (―The
   Collector‖ 1971, p.232)

She even engages in education her captor, hoping that he will broaden his horizons. His close-
mindedness seems incurable however. She encourages him to read, to feel art, to listen to jazz and
classical music.

   ―Another thing I said to Caliban the other day – we were listening to jazz – I said, don‘t
   you dig this? and he said, in the garden. I said he was so square he was hardly credible.
   Oh, that, he said.
   Like rain, endless dreary rain. Colour-killing.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.162)

       She stimulates him to express his own views instead of relying on overheard stereotypes and
clichés. Unfortunately her efforts are of no avail since he is too resistant to change “his” opinions
based on other people‟s words and experience. He sticks to his sickly world as the only true and
full of sense without making an effort to see beyond it.
       Miranda suggests that he read a book by Jerome David Salinger “The Catcher in the Rye”,
hoping that he will notice some similarities, which will make him consider his own life. Books that
he has read so far are all about butterflies or some detective stories.

   ―M. (…) Don‘t you ever read proper books – real books? Books about
        important things by people who really feel about life. Not just paperbacks
       to kill time on a train journey. You know, books?
   C. Light novels are more my line. (…)
   M. You can jolly well read ‗The Catcher In The Rye‘. I‘ve almost finished it. Do
      you know I‘ve read it twice and I‘m five years younger than you are?
   C. I‘ll read it.
   M. It‘s not a punishment.
   C. I looked at it before I brought it down.
   M. And you didn‘t like it.
   C. I‘ll try it.
   M. You make me sick.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.148)

       “The Catcher in the Rye” tells a story of a two-day odyssey of Holden Caulfield, a revolting
teenager, who runs away from school and roams the streets of new York the day before Christmas
Eve. Holden does not agree with the adult world in which he sees lies and perfidy – like Peter Pan,
he does not want to be an adult, because only the child is a synonym of innocence and authenticity.
The novel stresses the differences between adulthood and childhood, the former being portrayed as
artificial and full of appearances, the latter is idyllic, full of naturalness and authenticity. The book
is an apotheosis of childhood highlighted by the metaphor of “the catcher in the rye”, of a person
catching children before they fall off the cliff (metaphor of adulthood). It also emphasizes the
isolation of an individual in the society – the protagonist wants to escape and pretend that he is
        Analogy here is clearly visible. For his own egoistic reasons, Clegg does not want to become
an “adult”. He prefers to be “mute” in order not to take upon topics that might destroy his
“childish” views. His “innocence” which he does not want to give up is a cover for his villainy.
When he reaches the end of the novel, feeling Miranda‟s meaningful look, he arrives at a typical

   ―M. I gave you that book to read because I thought you would feel identified
        with him. You‘re a Holden Caufield. He doesn‘t fit anywhere and you don‘t.
   C. I don‘t wonder, the way he goes on. He doesn‘t try to fit.
   M. He tries to construct some sort of reality in his life, some sort of decency.
   C. It‘s not realistic. Going to a posh school and his parents having money. He
      wouldn‘t behave like that. In my opinion.‖
   (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.205- 206)

        Full of disapproval, Miranda calls him the old seaman. Another character after Caliban
which engraves the features of his soul. The burden of his ignorance, pettiness, and hypocrisy
crushes anything that „everything trying to be honest and free‖ (p.206)
The obsession of freedom pushes her toward taking another step. Yet again she changes her views
in the time of intense psychological pressure.

   ―All this Vestal Virgin talk about ‗saving yourself up‘ for the right man. I‘ve always
   despised it. Yet I‘ve always held back.
   I‘m mean with my body.
   I‘ve got to get this meanness out of the way.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p. 237)

        She must seduce her own oppressor! This is the only possible way of regaining her freedom.
She becomes charming realizing that she acts against her own will. She wants to be nice to her
oppressor, praising him even for “an awful tie” and calling him Frederic instead of Caliban. She
tries to muffle the inner voice of disapproval of such a solution. The aim justifies the means though.

   ―I must fight with my weapons. Not his. Not selfishness and brutality and shame and
   Therefore with generosity (I give myself) and gentleness (I kiss the beast) and no-shame (I
   do what I do of my own free will) and forgiveness (he can‘t help himself).
   Even a baby. H i s baby. Anything. For freedom. (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.238)
         She knows that a woman can not get any lower. She suppresses her instincts and mollifies
her growing disgust by believing in the necessity of this step. She goes through a psychological
ordeal, knowing that she has to reach the rock bottom in order to exhaust all the possibilities, even
those deemed the most appalling and amoral. Despite this apparent prostitution which Miranda
wants to resort to, the reader will not feel sorry for her. This is an abnormal situation, in which no
one behaves normally, since there is no norm regulating it. Remembering what devastation and
changes a state of isolation may cause, no one makes an effort to assess her morality. Can anyone
authoritatively state where morality or freedom are placed in the hierarchy of human values?
         There comes another topic for digression. Is the choice between murdering her executioner
and murdering her own nature even possible to be considered? What is a greater or lesser of the two
         One often hears opinions that evil is always evil, regardless of what it concerns and one can
not make a “greater or lesser‟ distinction therefore.
         On the other hand, a spontaneous moral sensitivity points a difference between a murder and
a theft, between cursing and a lie. Is there a greater and lesser evil then? And can one chose
between the two?
         Without going into a philosophical distinction, it should be stressed however that the evil is
not the same as a crime. Evil is the quality of a concrete deed, a crime is an infringement against
another human being, in various forms. Evil is an ethical notion then, while crime remains in the
domain of law. The most significant difference is that the evil is independent of the will and
consciousness of man – one can spill unwillingly hot coffee over someone and this deed, despite the
lack of will, is wrong –a sin however is committed only when one performs a similar act
purposefully , a deliberate spilling of coffee.
         The opposite of Evil is Good and there is nothing in between. In such a context, all those
claiming that evil is always evil, regardless of tits weight, are right. Indeed, a theft of 500 dollars is
not any better than a theft of 5000 dollars, since there is no gray area between them. But on the
other hand, stealing 5000 is something worse than stealing 500, There is thus a double dialectics:
evil-good in relation to the quality of an act, and evil-more evil in relation to the evil itself.
         Instead of speaking of greater and lesser evil (which suggests that the lesser evil is
something insignificant) it is better to use notions that provide a clear distinction: evil deed and
more evil deed.
         There still remains a problem of choosing between “greater” and “lesser” evil. Such a choice
can exist only in a situation where Good is not an option, which is a similar situation to Miranda‟s.
Should she kill her oppressor or let him kill her? Each of these choices is evil, however a self-
defense is not a crime.
       Such choices occur extremely rarely in life and very often a choice of a “lesser evil” is an
excellent excuse for not choosing Good, which might be too difficult, for instance, admitting the
guilt and facing the consequences or lie.
The range of feelings that Miranda has for her oppressor is veiled by an extreme hatred, which she
words in the following way:

   ―I despise him too much to hate him. (..) I know we shouldn‘t be able to meet again.
   I could never cure him. Because I‘m his disease.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p. 246)

       “The imprisoned butterfly” cannot expand the walls of her cell. Only in her dreams she can
find a temporary consolation, stretching her wings in the clouds of her reminiscing and desires; her
family, friends like put-to-sleep photographs of the past. With a great esteem and tenderness she
recalls the words of her mentor, George Paston, appearing in her diary under the initials G.P.

3.2.5 G.P.
       Miranda first mentions in her diary a mysterious G.P. at the moment of change in her life.

   ―Everything in my life seemed fine. There was G.P. But even that was strange. Exciting.
   Exciting.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.119)

       G.P. like a rising angel in a soulless cell is the only escape to the world of real art, to the life
of beauty and creativity, to the island of her happiness. She can feel G.P.‟s presence when she
writes her diary. She quotes his words to amplify her own views. She reminisces meticulously
situations and events involving him, which have left some permanent traces in her heart and mind.
She knows how much he has changed her life and her thinking, especially how to live authentically.

   ―I know I also feel happy because I‘ve been not here for most of the day. I‘ve been mainly
   thinking about G.P. In his world, not this one here. I remembered so much. I would have
   liked to write it all down. I gorged myself on memories. This world makes that world seem
   so real, so living, so beautiful. Even the sordid parts of it.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.145)

       She looks up to him with admiration as though he was a guru in the world of art, teaching
her how to be an artist, and how to sacrifice the entire self to a work of art.
3.2.6 Miranda‟s Love

       G.P. is not just Miranda‟s spiritual guide in the world of art or a catalyst of her artistic
maturation. He is her unrequited love, a difficult love. He is much older than she is, has a different
view of the surrounding world as well as of material and transcendental matters. Symbiosis of a life
dilettante and an experienced person as well as rebelliousness and curiosity of the world with the
existence wisdom proves to be impossible. Like two opposite magnetic poles, they are drawn to
each other more and more closely.
       Longing for a” fantastic ordinariness” and for an element of risk, so indispensable according
to Fowles in the process of building one‟s own happiness – all this makes Miranda‟s heart beat
much faster. At first, she does not realize the inner pressure within her. She is excited by some
mysteriousness and dissimilarity of what she has experienced so far. The captured butterfly changes
once again, this time becoming a mature and loving woman.

   "Looks; I know it is idiotically wrong to hale preconceived notions abort looks. Getting
   excited when Piers kisses me. Having to stare at him sometimes (not when he would notice,
   because of his vanity) but feeling his looks intensely. Like a beautiful drawing of something
   ugly. You forget about the ugliness. I know Piers is morally and psychologically ugly – just
   plain and dull, phoney.
   But even there I‘ve changed,‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.217)

       She realizes that fully after a few days of loneliness spent in the claws of Clegg‟s. In the
name of these feelings, she is ready to give up her youthful desires and change the model of her
views of marriage. The age difference and G.P. „s modest income has been a serious obstacle for
her “bourgeois” needs. She feels disgusted at the very thought of this side of her.

   "We went to make coffee, wretched little kitchen, and I thought, anyhow I couldn‘t face up
   to living here with him – just the domestic effort. A vile irrelevant wave of bourgeois
   cowardice.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.215)

       The spark that ignited her love is a mystery that G.P hides within himself. It is a search and
discovery of it with someone who knows well the beauty of life without unnecessary artificiality,
egoism, or snobbism. Someone like GP, who Miranda associates with the character of George
Knightley from Jane Austin‟s “Emma”, an old man of impeccable reputation being a neighbor of
the protagonist.
       With this frame of mind, she would not be able to get interested in someone young and
attractive, someone easily penetrable without any mysterious shrine around him. She discovers that
true youth is underneath the skin, it is a freshness of thoughts, rejuvenating view of reality,
creativity, and willingness to live.

   "But G.P. Has. I didn‘t recognize it as fresh–green-shootiness for a long time. But now I
   do." (―The Collector‖ 1971, p. 160)

       She recalls her meetings with GP, the waiting moments reminding of a game of chess. Who
will be the first to lift the visor of their feelings. GP fends his feelings for her since he knows that
“such” a love is doomed from the beginning. Perhaps, he feels some pity in his self-criticism of his
emotions. He becomes defenseless and has no strength left to fight with his heart. He is drawn to
her by what she sees in him, a secrete of youth, a discrete sekret vis attractiva. He wants to talk to
her from the position of his age and experience, talking about his past relationships and hiding his
fear of what is happening in his heart at the moment.

   " I didn‘t really expect you to go to bed with me, He said.
   I know, I said.
   He gave me a long look. Then he changed, he got out the chess-board and we played chess
   and he let me beat him. He wouldn‘t admit it , but I‘m sure he did. We hardly said anything,
   we seemed to communicate through the chessmen, there was something very symbolic about
   my winning. That he wished me to feel. I don‘t know what it was. I don‘t know whether it
   was that He wanted me to see my ‗virtue‘ triumph over his ‗vice‘, or something subtler, that
   sometimes losing is winning.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.177)

       She thinks about her future life when she finally breaks the chains of the madman. She
wants to have children and get married. She knows exactly what type of man she wants to marry:
"someone with the mind like G.P.‘s , only much nearer my own age, and with the looks I like."
(―The Collector‖ 1971, p.142 ) The age and appearance is no longer of any value to this young
mature woman, "I think and think down here. I understand things I haven‘t really thought about
before.‖(―The Collector‖ 1971, p.142)

       She reflects on the lack of time to taste life when it is within reach. Yet again, Fowles forces
the reader to contemplate the sense and purpose of human existence, human helplessness in
squandering time on trivial and insignificant things. Miranda, defenseless against the tyranny of her
oppressor and living with a constant fear of an eminent danger, comes to some fundamental
conclusions. Also the reader will find some answers to the questions for which they would never
find time to answer in a day- to- day life.
       A conscious resignation of the so-called “ideals” fed to the young mind is nothing but
Miranda‟s great step toward understanding. What is of primary importance in life? This question
will never be answered in a satisfactory way by most people living in a hurry.
       This manifests the drama of human existence. Time does never allow any correction of
previous events.
       There appears another painful truth: people have a beautiful gift of creation but also
destruction, they are a toy in the hands of fate, history, and time. They often make wrong choices by
taking shortcuts in their illusion of freedom, in their collective sense of what is good.
       Martin Heidegger once said that people are doomed to live their entire lives and then to die
without ever knowing why they were here. This is true existentialism, people know that they exist
and that a material world surrounding them exists as well. This idea is put by Fowles in Miranda‟s
description of one of her romantic encounters with GP.

   “The two of us in that room. No past, no future. All intense deep that – time – only. A feeling
   that everything must end, the music, ourselves, the moon, everything. That if you get to the
   heart of things you find sadness for ever and ever, everywhere; but a beautiful silver
   sadness, like a Christ face. (…)
   In all the fuss and anxiety and the shoddiness and the business of London, making a career,
   getting pashes , art, learning, grabbing frantically at experience, suddenly the silent silver
   room full of that music.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.189-190)

After a two-month-long absence G.P. confesses to Miranda that he missed her. He cannot cope with
his feelings but he asks her not to visit him any longer.

    ―Anyhow, you don‘t love me.
   I said, I can‘t explain it. There isn‘t a Word for it.
   Precisely, He answered. He was cleaning his hands with petrol. Very clinical and matter-
   of-fact. So I have to ask you to leave me to find my peace again.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971,

After this confession Miranda experiences satisfaction like after a won game of chess.

   ―I sang on the way home. The romance, the mystery of it. Living.
   I thought I knew I didn‘t love him. I‘d won that game.‖ (―The Collector‖ 1971, p.217)

Only from the perspective of time and experience she knows what is truly important for her.

    ―I shall go and have an a f f a i r with G.P.
   I‘ll marry him if he wants.
   I want adventure, the risk of marrying him.
   I‘m sick of being young. Inexperienced.
   Clever at knowing but not at living.
   I want his children in me.
   My body doesn‘t count any more. If he just wants that he can have it. "(―The Collector‖
   1971, p.247)

Joining her feelings with her thoughts, she dies free. The butterfly has escaped, fluttering her wings
of love.


           “The Collector”, a novel debut of John Fowles‟ has three very important features to become
a perfect book: wonderfully constructed characters, unexpected ending, and an author who allows
his characters to exists on their own. He gives them time, which they fill to the very end without
ever wasting a minute. Time, which enables them to be living together by choice or by chance.
       The author makes the story of a collector-kidnapper a poem about the fight against the
mediocrity, a challenge that should be taken up by anyone who wants to live full, free, and unusual
life. Not to hang out a shameful white flag on the barricade of dreams, but to strive for their
fulfillment despite any adverse circumstances. He warns the reader of shameful and disgraceful
behaviors and asks for self-reflection.
       John Fowles‟ “The Collector” is indisputably an inspiration to analyze the greatest values in
life such as love and freedom. It also reflects over religion and belief and faith in God.
       The author tries to make the reader sensitive to the issues of violence and enslavement. He
unveils the secret of human soul in extreme situations, both the victim and its oppressor.
       There are two sources that are an inspiration for this book. One is "Bluebeard's Castle", an
opera by Béla Bartók, where the protagonist fetters his wives behind doors. Another is an event,
about which Fowles read in a paper, of kidnapping and imprisoning a young woman by a man, kept
in a air-raid shelter for three months near London.
The book may be frightening in the issue it raises and as such can be categorized as a thriller, which
is very often done by the book sellers in order to increase its salability. This is life, brutal and real.
How many people around are similar to Clegg or Miranda? How many of the are mad and how
many sensitive to beauty? The oppressor and the victim. Two different worlds, but they were living
together for some time…
       The modern world is a world of butterflies and collectors…..
How many butterflies are still to be caught by collectors in order to realize the idea of freedom and
How many butterflies will have to be put to death so that the collector‟s sickly idea of love is fully
satisfied? Which one is the modern man, a collector or a butterfly?
These questions will remain alive, without answers…
        The novel is like a scientific dissertation in the area of psychology, a study of a growing
obsession so that the reader can flock to it like moths toward the light. With a guarantee that they
will burn…

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