Iain Banks the wasp factory
– English Essay
Compare the ways the writers present the disconcerting behaviour in both texts so far. Firstly, in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”, the writer presents disconcerting behaviour throughout the text. Tennessee Williams uses Stanley to display different types of disturbing behaviour, and the events that occur due to his attitude. Stanley is presented having a masculine, animalistic nature, which includes his open violent behaviour. His animalistic nature is displayed when he ‘charges after Stella’, in scene three of the play, and when there is the ‘sound of a blow’ in the household, indicating that Stanley had physically hurt Stella so much causing her to cry. Critic, Michael Coveney explains that in the play ‘masculinity means aggression, control, physical dominance, and even violence.’ Tennessee Williams proves this point as Stanley is constantly in control and uses his masculinity to take charge in the household.
The play as written in the 1950’s and in that period of time men were known to have a more masculine and aggressive role in a relationship than our time, so even though the audience of this period of time may see Stanleys abusive actions as destructive and out of order, in the 60’s these sort of scenario’s would’ve ‘happened already’. Whereas, in Iain Banks’s, “The Wasp Factory”, the writer presents disturbing behaviour in a similar way, but from a different perspective. Iain Banks similairly presents Frank to have an unusual animalistic yet, predator-like behaviour to portray a different kind of character. Tennessee Williams does present Stanley as the same sort of character, although, Frank is presented in a more disturbing manner. Frank’s predator-like behaviour is displayed in the novel when he states that it made him ‘feel good to know that i could see him and he couldnt see me’, boasting about the fact that he was ‘aware and fully conscious and he wasn’t’. Iain Banks shows us that Frank has been presented as a very disturbed character and behaves in a extra-ordinary way. The fact that he was fascinated to observe without them knowing shows that he has a quite animalistic mind set, as it is similair to when an animal is waiting to catch their prey.
In comparison, this is a very interesting way for a 16 year old to behave and the animalistic nature has obviously been used for a different cause to “A Streetcar Named Desire” as Stanleys behaviour is still quite common among his friends and isn’t so much of a strange way to behave compared to Franks behaviour. Critic, ‘Papa Puppet’ explains his opinion is that ‘Frank rips your fears from the base of your brain and move them, puppetlike, eerily masterful withal, into your worst nightmares.’, showing that Frank is not in his right mind his behaviour is sincerely disconcerting. Another character in the play, “A Streetcar Named Desire” that is used to present disturbing behaviour is Blanche. The writer uses her to present disconcerting behaviour due to her susceptible alcohol problem. Blanche is presented by the writer to the audience to be a quite unstable character, that comes across to be strangley covert. At the early stage of her visit to her sister Stella, Blanche ‘rushes to the closet and removes the bottle’, Tennessee Williams then begins to show her unstableness when she starts ‘shaking all over and panting for breath.’ This clearly reveals that Blanche has an unconventional reliance on alcohol in order to calm her ‘nerves’. Blanche obviously doesn’t feel comfortable for some reason without drinking some sort of alcohol and its clear to the audience that this is quite concerning as it is a question of why she needs to rely on the alcohol, and what really bothers her as the writer doesn’t initially tell us anything about Blanche, instead he shows us that she is strangley ambiguous causing her to drink alcohol to regain her composure. Becky Leslie adds that ‘Blanche was an easily identifiable character… someone who deeply regrets a thoughtless act in her youth, and seeks forgetfulness.’
Blanche is obviously relying on the alcohol to block out memories and past regrets that have occured previously before she had gone to visit Stella. On the other hand, in “The Wasp Factory”, Iain Banks presents ominous behaviour through Frank in a similair way, which also involves reliance on something diverse. Iain Banks uses Frank to present the behaviour with his unique reliance on his visionary ‘factory’. Frank relies on ‘the factory’ so much that Iain Banks made it out as if he was stunned that he ‘didn’t even ask the factory’, whether his brother, Eric, would make it back home or not. The writer shows the reader that Frank has a large amount of dependance on the factory, although anyone would’ve thought that it was another theoretical part to his immagination.
This shows the reader that Frank has a hard time dividing reality from his immagination. Considering hes 16 years old its certainly disturbing to think that he relies on factors in his immagination to help him in real life situations. The Mail On Sunday said that Frank was had a ‘mighty imagination’, indicating that his immagination was nearly abnormal and some could say quite scary. In comparison, Tennesse Williams’ Blanche in “A Streetcar Named Desire”, doesn’t have this much of demented dependance on alcohol which shows us that Iain Banks presented more profound disconcerting behaviour in both texts, but it was due to the type of book and the overall mindset and background of the characters. Although the characters in “A Streetcar Named Desire” have troubled backgrounds, the characters in “The Wasp Factory” have a stranger, deeply concerning background which delegates the behaviour that Iain Banks presents using the characters.