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Sarah Roop’s Formal Blog Post on Patrick McGrath’s Spider, Part 2

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“(I know this feeling, I too have been tormented in this way, I too have felt them clacking and clicking round the back of my head like the teeth of a hound, like a cloud of chattering gnats, in fact the sound is rarely absent, though most of the time it is mercifully subdued, more of a hum than anything else.)” pg. 88

Plagued by images that haunt his mind, Denis, known as Spider, is left to live in the horrors he has witnessed and those that his mind creates and tends to dwell upon. As a young child, Spider’s father commits the horrific crime of murder, which impacts Spider’s life and his memories surrounding that time in his life.  Spider’s narrative demonstrates his impressive mental capability for remembering the facts and details of a situation, however he does not relay his own feelings and reactions to the story. After his father comes to realize the fullness of his actions of killing his wife, about two days after the murder, a wave hits him. It is to this is what Spider is relating to in the passage. He describes his head as an epicenter of perceptions, a constant and dull part of his life. It is through this passage that it is shown that the loss of control illustrated overwhelms Spider after the loss of his mother and does not permit him to fully grasp the situation.

The narrative of Spider’s life lacks complexity and great emotion that is often present, especially after a young child loses their mother. He is left unaware of the full situation for a period of time, simply recounting the details of the home and the smell of his father’s mistress, Hilda Wilkinson. He admits to not knowing where his mother was, and wonders where she has gone? But he does not appear to go looking for her, instead retreats to his room or spies on his father and Hilda Wilkinson. It is as if he is unable to fully comprehend at the time, that she is gone. Spider’s narrative then comes back to the present, and he states that “familiar running together of past and present has occurred”, as he is unable to differentiate the fine line in his mind. The jumble in his mind relates to the “clanking and clicking”, and though he says it is often subdued, it overwhelms him to the point that it interferes with his mental processes. A constant hum can be as excruciating as the chaos itself.

The memory and loss of his mother left Spider in a state of shock, lost to confusion. In turn, this added to the disarray that he identified in the back of his mind. The inability to completely realize and comprehend left Spider at a disadvantage. The event further illuminated that Spider is victim to his mind, as he simply describes his surroundings in a blunt, matter-of-fact manner.

Written by sroop

October 29th, 2010 at 11:29 am

Posted in formal blog post

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