LAST BOOK OF MY GOODREADS CHALLENGE!



The Collector
by John Fowles
Bay Back Books | August 4, 1997
       Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. When he wins the pools he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. Alone and desperate, Miranda must struggle to overcome her own prejudices and contempt if she is understand her captor, and so gain her freedom.
1) Thank you to my English teacher for having me read The Tempest and teaching what allusions are. The Collector alludes The Tempest. How everybody reacts:
If you read my review for Pride and Prejudice, you know that I am horrendous at analyzing literature; but, The Collector was surprisingly easy for me to analyze. My thoughts wandered everywhere.

The story centers around Frederick (a.k.a Ferdinand) and Miranda-you can see The Tempest being alluded already. Frederick is "withdrawn, uneducated, and unloved." [Goodreads snynopsis] Frederick collects butterflies and eventually Miranda, who is a beautiful art student.

I think Frederick was attracted to Miranda because she was everything he wasn't. He was drawn to her beauty and wanted to capture her, just like he does with butterflies. Continuing with the symbolism/metaphor with the butterfly, Miranda is a butterfly and Frederick is a moth. Caterpillars can either transform into moths or butterflies, depending if they form a chrysalis or cocoon. You can definitely do some research on this, but I saw close-ups and wanted to puke. Frederick/A moth is plain and ugly compared to Miranda/a butterfly. The moth wants to pin down the butterfly to worship the beauty [because they're not as beautiful], because they're jealous, or they're trying to steal the beauty. When I was reading, "beauty", "capturing beauty", and "becoming beautiful" was prominent. I immediately thought of American Beauty.

If you never watched the movie, you should, here's what it's about: Lester Burnham has a lackluster life. He's estranged, he can't connect with his daughter, his daughter hates him, he lives in the suburbs and has a terrible job. He encounters Angela Hayes [pretty sure 'Hayes' refers to Dolores Haze in Lolita], his daughter's friend, and he is attracted to her beauty. Angela sparks this desire and he changes his life.

Frederick desperately tries to appease Miranda and make her love him. Frederick calls himself Ferdinand to make him fit with Miranda in his sick fantasies. Although Ferdinand kidnaps Miranda, there's nothing sexual about it. Ferdinand is innocent and almost a blank canvas. Miranda tries to educate Ferdinand and make him a "better" person. Miranda is disgusted by him because he is indifferent, ugly, and dumb. I found that really hypocritical and I thought the two characters were quite similar. They're cynical and trying to be someone else because of the outside influence shaping them. G.P. molded Miranda and influenced her to think a certain way and Miranda does that to Ferdinand. Miranda and Ferdinand both tried to be someone they're not for the sake of love/acceptance. 

The plot for me is pretty ehhh. It was exciting to see Miranda try to escape, but it wasn't nail-biting, begging for more throughout. I expected Alfred Hitchcock but I got, I don't know, Jim Henson? The shift in perspective and narration was eye opening and intriguing, but... Jim Henson instead of Hitchcock. I wanted suspense, but I got Muppet. I guess I was really hyped by this book and it fell short of my extremely high, near impossible, expectations. I did enjoy the end [of Miranda's narrative and the end of the book] because it was pretty creepy and exciting.

Fowles writing wasn't appealing and didn't leave an impression on me. I would close the book after reading one page and I'd be unable to pick up where I was, even if I closed it briefly. I wasn't in the story, I had trouble getting into the story. I didn't get entertained and there wasn't something AMAZING about the writing. I think you read the book to provoke your thoughts. Most of the book is either Miranda or Frederick's cynical commentary on the world, which I believe is just Fowles'. So unless you want to read someone complaining, desperately trying to be accepted, or recalling the past, this isn't the book for you.

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