The Collector: John Fowles. 'How does Fowles use the trope of distance throughout the novel? Does this distance, literal or abstract, help Clegg commit crimes against Miranda more easily? Why?

Firstly, distancing himself because of his mental composition the way he acts within society, oddball, physically creating distance from himself, friends, family. Entirely isolated in thoughts and ideas. Distance from reality.Secondly, the money he wins distances him, elevates him to another level where he no longer needs to deal with reality, removing him from any contact physically, uses this money to isolate himself in this country house. But also the money he can use to construct a fantasy that could not be more distant from the outside world. Because he has money he is now distanced from constraints of capitalism and society before it may only have been an imaginary thing and now it is his reality. Distance from reality.Thirdly, his gaze is able to distance himself from both Miranda and reality. Beginning of the novel he is observing, almost as though he is not really living in the moment. Gaze allows him to distance himself from Miranda because he is only able to observe her as an object of desire as opposed to an individualised person; Miranda is dehumanized throughout the novel, only appreciated by him for her beauty. The way he fetishizes her hair, he wishes to collect her like he does his butterflies, ‘she couldn’t do an ugly thing, she was too beautiful’. Tarbox argues she in fact does many ugly things; vomits, menstruates, gets dirty, fills ‘her buckets’ – she is full of human life, yet he sees no animal quality.

This therefore enables him to commit such awful crimes because in his mind she is an object that can be collected. To acknowledge Miranda as human would be admitting she has the right to freedom, and free will. By dehumanising her it justifies his crime of keeping her prisoner.

Also, the fact he distances himself from the real world allows him to commit crimes and not compare or rationalise what he is doing to normality.

Fourthly, distance created from his camera. Camera is a metaphor for distancing and taking the life out of things. A tool he uses to commit some of the worst of his crimes, the photos of Miranda in her underwear. Likes when her head is cut off, to further dehumanise and create more detachment. Maybe he feels the crime is not so bad because it is through a tool, indirect abuse. Able to take the photo because it is of an object.

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