Beyond Good and Evil

"Frederick Clegg is a Failed Man": Punishments in The Collector 10th Grade

John Fowles’ 1963 novel The Collector is a deeply disturbing, intensely psychological book based around the principles of beauty, power, control, and class. The story follows Fred Clegg through his capture and abuse of Miranda Grey, an attractive young art student from London. Fowles reveals Clegg as a damaged man who cannot sustain a relationship with another human. As a result of this damage to his psyche, Clegg blames Miranda for his issues, and he is abusive and manipulative towards her in a way that perhaps reveals more about his personality than he intends.

One crucial issue with Fred’s thinking is his concept of blame. He never admits to being at fault for the capture of Miranda, rather blaming the victim for his actions. He repeats this pattern whenever he does something unsavory to her, e.g. the two instances of ‘camera rape.’ This mentality reflects a common attitude among males at the time this novel was written, and indeed today. His method of shifting the blame is typified by the line on pg. 124, where he blames Miranda for her own death, saying “I was acting as if I killed her, but she died, after all.” He claims that her dying was her own fault, despite his denying her a doctor while she was clearly dying of...

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