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Frederick Clegg – A Study in Psychopathy Essay

Throughout the whole book Frederick enjoys his loneliness which occurred due to his abnormal upbringing. Fredericks was guided through life by his uncle whom he sincerely adored and who has become his spiritual life leader. Frederick deeply suffered after his death and didn’t manage to build such strong relationships that he used to have before. Frederick has many psychological drawbacks. Since his childhood, he has been let down and abandoned several times: My father was killed driving. I was two. … He was drunk, but Aunt Annie always said it was my mother that drove him to drink.

They never told me what really happened, but she went off soon after and left me with Aunt Annie, she only wanted an easy time. [… ] I don’t care now, if she is still alive, I don’t want to meet her, I’ve got no interest. […] So I was brought up by Aunt Annie and Uncle Dick with their daughter Mabel. Truly, these cases of death and abandonment have influenced him radically. One can easily suppose that he is feared to be re-abandoned and this is a reason why he doesn’t want to risk the option that Miranda abandons him when she is ill. That’s why, Frederick chooses to reject the medical treatment.

Surely, he would be accused and imprisoned if she would tell somebody about the kidnapping, but due to the fact that he does not express any fear of being imprisoned, it is more likely that he is more scared of loneliness. Probably the two fears are somehow connected, which is why Frederick refuses to provide Miranda with medical help. His inadequate behavior clearly demonstrates his psychopathic personal traits. In fact, Frederick is sanctimonious person and snob. While looking at other people he experiences antipathy because the way they communicate, organize their daily life and accept him do not coincide with his world view.

Frederick is too lazy to do anything to change this situation. He keeps distance with his co-workers and ignores everything which is not included in his life. It can be noticed from the first page that Frederick is quite strange young fellow who perceives surrounding environment in negativity. Due to the fact the he was brought up in a small town experiencing the lack of comfort, knowledge, and chances, he became unable to experience true human feelings like sympathy, and sacrifice.

If Frederick Clegg had been a real figure, he would have been diagnosed with the following psychopathic symptoms: • Sex life impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated: Frederick’s sexual relationships with Miranda could have been developed faster and more productively if only he had not been so handicapped. He treated Miranda as an object and his absolute possession having dominating behavior rather than having equal relationships person with distinct social intentions and needs. • Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations

Emotional coldness and disinterest in unrelated to his lifestyle events and notions are common to people with certain psychological disorders due to the fact that they are narrowly oriented on one single person/object/notion. • Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love From the point of view of psychology and psychopathy the only one person truly and deeply adored by Frederick is he himself. Having higher priority set of his own actions, he thus sincerely justified his right to receive premium quality relationships, attitudes, and life in general.

• Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience Frederick is characterized by having irrational thinking and inability to analyze and therefore correct his behavior. • Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior Some medical researchers and analysts have applied the notion of spiritual, psychological, and social suicide in case with Frederick. • Lack of remorse and shame Absence of regret, sorrow, or embarrassment emerges from his total confidence in the soundness of his actions, thoughts, and intentions. • Unreliability

Failure to establish healthy relationships with psychologically adequate people results in his inability to function as a reliable person. • Absence of nervousness or psychoneurotic manifestations Frederick’s case is different from any other psychological disorder such as psychoneurotics, aggressive sexual behavior, etc. (Mossen 44). Clegg possesses these psychopathic personality traits because he cares little about others. A number of medical analysts claim that Frederick Clegg should be considered to be sociopath rather than psychopath.

The difference between these two notions is reflected in the fact that sociopathy develops from negative sociological factors like low social status, financial non-satisfaction, and illegal environment, while psychopathy is ingenerate disease being nurtured by impulsivity, high/low intelligence, and failure to accept social norms and generally establish behavioral rules. He is so selfish he can’t accept any rejections which can be understood from his attitude towards Miranda. The phrase ‘she was mine’ explains everything he felt for Miranda whom he treats just like one of his butterflies that has to be taken care of.

After he captures the girl he is overwhelmed by the mind-blowing feeling for possessing what he has cherished such a long time.. Frederick may be emotionally and sexually described as having total lack of sexual attraction. ‘ A statement made by Frederick right after Miranda’s death explains much of himself in terms of his mentally unhealthy character: “I thought I was acting for the best and within rights”. First of all, Frederick didn’t have good intentions. Although Frederick did not consider Miranda’s disease to be true for the first couple of days, and even after it appeared to be such he didn’t start looking for help.

This proves that he was not acting within his rights. Also, the fact of kidnapping itself is far from being human and cannot be justified. This statement demonstrates the absolute egocentricity and brutality of Frederick. It would also be appropriate to note that he was repeatedly treating Miranda as his guest. It is the evidence of unhealthy Frederick’s character as Miranda is forced to spend time at his place rather than volunteering visiting him. All of these things, as well as various others contribute to a sharp audience response that makes the theme of the story become more evident. (Holland 97).

Irony may also be noticed in the issue of freedom relating Frederick and Miranda “relationships”. In fact, Miranda is kept locked, however, it does not mean that she is limited in her mind and soul. Frederick’s mind level is very limited, he is close to anyone else’s ideas which can be seen from his inability to recognize and understand Miranda’s attraction to art. One more significant discussion going on in the story was the conversation about the book ‘The catcher in the rye. ‘ Frederick fails to understand the meaning as he perceives it as a mess and doesn’t like the way the main character talks in it.

It set a vivid contrast with Miranda and illustrates to what extent she is free regardless of the fact of her imprisonment. She is eager to learn everything new that surrounds her. She is an open-minded lady and her skill to deeply interpret others’ thought and feelings are based on her own thinking and analysis. (Nicklette 87). Frederick is a character with little knowledge of what love and human relationships are. That’s why he does not know what he really wants from relationships with the girl. What he strives for is clarity, excellence and exceptionality:

“I always thought of her like that, I mean words like elusive and sporadic, and very refined – not like the other ones, even the pretty ones. ” As indicated above, it is wholesome and perfect love that Frederick strives for. He rejects females who have had active sexual life and is always disgusted by them. His “perfect match” is “pure” just as he considers himself. Here he reveals what in psychopathy is called grandiose sense of perfection. (Mossen 1995). He picks a prostitute, and explains his sexual inability by saying that the female was not compatible with his imaginary woman:

“I was too nervous, I tried to be as if I knew all about it and of course she saw, she was old and she was horrible, horrible. I mean, both in the filthy way she behaved and in looks. She was worn, common” . This statement does not only show Frederick’s idea of what real women should be like, but it also opens his low self-confidence. Throughout the story, the audience can feel Fredericks’s inferiority complex and with the example of what Frederick thinks of Miranda’s surrounding environment:

“The only times I didn’t have nice dreams about her being when I saw her with a certain young man, a loud noisy public-school type who had a sports car” . It is obvious that he is jealous of the “young man with a sports car”, not only because of Miranda, but also because he does not belong to the upper crust of the society. In his storytelling, Frederick states that he people from the upper class disgust him: I remember a night we went out and had supper at a posh restaurant […] Everything in the room seemed to look down at us because we weren’t brought up their way.

[…] If you ask me, London’s all arranged for the people who can act like public schoolboys, and you don’t get anywhere if you don’t have the manner born and the right la-di-da voice – I mean rich people’s London, the West End, of course. ” There is also some expression “la-di-da” that is oftentimes used by Frederick. Oxford English Dictionary Online states that “la-di-da” stands for “A derisive term for one who affects gentility; a ‘swell’”. He also addresses upper crust men as “public schoolboys”, and typically continues by illustrating them as loud, stupid and egotistical.

It would be appropriate to note how Frederick at the beginning does not seem to take Miranda as a lady from the upper crust, but later on he changes his mind: “Of course it was very educated, but it wasn’t la-di-da, it wasn’t slimy, she didn’t beg the cigarettes or like demand them, she just asked for them in an easy way and you didn’t have any class feeling” . At the beginning this is the way he describes Miranda and, in this case, her voice. After Miranda’s death, Frederick says: “I ought to have seen that I could never get what I wanted from someone like Miranda, with all her la-di-da ideas and clever tricks” .

Apparently, Frederick’s feelings for Miranda have changed. He finally is able to understand the social difference between Miranda and him, and its importance, but not until just before Miranda dies: “There was always class between us” . Due to his low social background, Frederick cannot truly see himself as someone climbing upwards on social ladder after he has won some money. His inability to accept of upper crust behavior has very strong roots in his head. When Miranda pushes him to donate money to charity, he refuses, and expresses openly what he thinks about this idea:

“I know rich people give sums, but in my opinion they do it to get their names published or to dodge the tax-man” . When Frederick refers to people of the upper crust, he has a very cynical opinion. Both Frederick and Miranda stay totally the same as the plot moves forward, although sometimes Miranda seems to be rather passive in development. There can be found rather clear markers in the novel that demonstrates a development, especially in the case of Frederick. At the beginning, he is shown as an innocent, naive young fellow who is somewhat socially isolated.

(Russel 129). Frederick has a very romantic view of love and relationships at that time, the type of romantic love we can read about in books, for instance, in Romeo and Juliet: “I can’t say what it was, the very first time I saw her, I knew she was the only one. […] I used to have daydreams about her, I used to think of stories where I met her, did things she admired, married her and all that. Nothing nasty, that was never until what I’ll explain later” . Frederick has turned from naive young fellow with low social skills to an compulsive, heartless serial killer.

Fowles does not state that Frederick will become a serial killer, but the way he lets Frederick think about kidnapping another young lady after Miranda’s death gives the reader the feeling that the story has not yet come to an end. Nonetheless, Frederick is still very naive when it comes to death and life. “The Great Beyond” as an idiom for death suggests a romantic mind, but his belief in aspirin as the best way kill him is rather unreasonable. Works Cited • Daniels, John. Literature XX. London: Ranfield Books, 2004. • Fowles, John. The Collector. New York: Pocket Books, 2000. • Fernando, Eric.

Literature Today. Chicago: Chicago Publishing, 1999. • Holland, Mark. Literature Analysis. New York: Penguin, 2003. • Kelly, Bob. John Fowles.


New York: Maison Book, 1995. • Mossen, Steve. The Collector. Analysis. New York: Maison Book, 1995. • Nicklette, Brebis. European Literature. Psychological Overview. Chicago: Chicago Publishing, 1997. • Powels, Eric. History of World Literature. Oxford: Oxford Press, 1996. • Russel, Brandon. Literature. Synopsis. New York: Maison Book, 1995. • Oxford English Dictionary. “La-di-da”. 21 Feb. 2007 <http://search. oed. com/cgi-bin/ts. pl>

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