The Wasp Factory

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He murders them in the manners dictated by the Wasp Factory. Frank lives an isolated life on the island and misses his brother Eric, who has been committed to an mental institution. At the beginning of the book, Eric escapes and is not seen until the very end although he makes frequent, bizarre telephone calls to Frank throughout the story. Eric had been a brilliant medical student who went insane after witnessing a horrible incident occurring to a hospitalized child with profound birth defects—its skull was basically missing.

When he pushed the temporary flap back over the brain, he saw that maggots were eating the child's brain after which Eric spirals into insanity. When Frank was three years old, the family dog mauled him and chewed off his genitals. He was understandably bitter and angry but had become a soldier and killer to out-man the men who could procreate. There is a major twist at the conclusion of the story.

Frank finally sneaks into the study and finds a set of tiny genitals preserved in a jar of liquid.

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He also finds male hormones and other mysterious items. He confronts his father who finally admits that the genitals in the jar are made of plastic. Frank was actually a girl, a perfectly formed female. When the dog attacked her, Angus used the opportunity to rid his life of women. He told Frank that he was a boy and that the dog chewed his sex organs off.

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He put hormones in his food everyday to stimulate beard growth and prevent menstrual periods. All the killing, mutilation, lies, secrets, fears and anger were all for naught. The Wasp Factory was a fraud. Frank's father taught him to hate women but ironically he turned out to be a woman. In the end, Frances finds Eric asleep on a hill. Eric, who had escaped from the hospital to see his brother, would soon be awake to meet his sister. Read more from the Study Guide. Browse all BookRags Study Guides. All rights reserved. Toggle navigation. Sign Up.

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Sign In. Get The Wasp Factory from Amazon. View the Study Pack. View the Lesson Plans. Plot Summary. The Sacrifice Poles. The Snake Park. In the Bunker. The Bomb Circle. A Bunch of Flowers. The Skull Grounds. Control, Violence, and Power. When Eric returned after his first year away at school Frank could feel he had changed. He was now an adult playing with Frank, a child.

Behind it all

Frank felt this loss acutely. Frank sees adulthood as tied to sexual development, which he will never have. To make up for the lack of control he has over his own body, Frank instead decides to work on controlling his homeland. Sanity and Insanity.

The Wasp Factory

Eric was already struggling at school romantically and academically. However, the incident occurred at a local hospital where he helped nurses on the late shift. He watched over one ward for very young, very sick children, many of whom were born with deformities. One night he was feeding a child with severe disabilities, who, on the best days, was barely responsive. This child had to wear a metal hat over the thin skin on its head where its brain plates had failed to grow together. Frank loves patterns, but in reality, Eric was likely worn down by the stress of school and work, and pushed over the edge by his truly horrible discovery.

Seeing this, Eric was immediately devastated. Already unstable, he was discovered in a corner screaming, the child laying on the floor with a spoon stuck into its open head. Eric was sedated and cared for as a patient for a few days. Eric returned to the island but was not the same as before.

Frank was suddenly frightened of him. At first, Eric would start fights in public or else lock himself in his room. Eventually he started trying to feed local kids worms and maggots. Additionally, local dogs had been disappearing, and Eric was spotted lighting one on fire. He went from trying to save a child from maggots, to trying to feed children maggots.

THE WASP FACTORY by Iain M. Banks | Kirkus Reviews

Soon after that Diggs came to arrest Eric , but Eric hid out, first for three days, and then, when he returned, for another week. He was eventually caught, imprisoned, and certified as insane. His threats and violence towards the staff at the institutions guaranteed he was moved into increasingly secure facilities. But for a while he was calm, and now he has escaped. Frank even suspects that Eric has been plotting his escape for months, behaving well so that he would be monitored less carefully, and would have an opportunity to escape again.

From his perch on the mainland Frank looks out with his binoculars.

He feels that Eric is nearby, but does not spot him. Frank begins to walk across the hills. He wonders if it can be applied to women, too, but admits it probably cannot be.

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Frank sees, for maybe the first time, a downside of absolute power and absolute control. It can corrupt the object, animal, or person upon which power is being enacted. Frank tries to tie this newfound revelation into his theory of sex and gender, trying to justify scientifically or philosophically why women are inferior, but he fails. Cite This Page. MLA Chicago.

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