Death: "The Cement Garden" and "The Wasp Factory" Comparison Essay

Death: "The Cement Garden" and "The Wasp Factory"
A comparative analysis of Ian McEwan's "The Cement Garden" and Iain Banks' "The Wasp Factory", focusing especially on the crucial thematic phenomenon of death.
# 152055 | 3,244 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2004 | CZ
Published on Nov 25, 2012 in Literature (English) , English (Comparison)

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This paper examines "The Cement Garden" by the English writer Ian McEwan and "The Wasp Factory" by the Scottish writer Iain Banks, both being the authors' first novels, and only six years apart in publication. The paper focuses on how in each novel, specific sources and functionalities of the phenomenon of death are discovered, be it on the thematic level, linguistic level or the level of humour. The writer shows how death comes to be discovered as arising from external events in "The Cement Garden", and from the protagonist's self in "The Wasp Factory," and how it functions as a means of preserving sanity for Jack in the former novel and as a means of achieving seeming social acceptability for Frank in the latter.

From the Paper:

"The stories evolving in both novels are narrated from the inner perspective (i.e., the narrator is included and participates in the story; he is identical with the main protagonist), their narrative person is ich-form in both cases. From a superficial point of view, the novels' narrators resemble each other to a great extent, too - both of them are pubescent boys of similar ages, youngsters exposed to the overwhelming pressure of vicious events, which they are forced to face and solve in very uncommon and specific ways. Also, both of them live in an environment fairly insulated from the outer world: Jack admits his family have never seen any visitors in their house ("No one ever came to visit us."1); on the symbolic level, the protective and isolating function of the house might be suggested by the fact that "It was built to look a little like a castle with thick walls, squat windows and crenellations above the front door."2 Frank lives in a similarly detached environment, this time represented by an island. Again, he acknowledges to feel secure there and protected from the hostile outer world; he fancies leaving it every now and then, but prefers to find himself always within eyeshot of the island; moreover, as an extra protective element there are the Sacrifice Poles threateningly towering above the island."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • McEwan, Ian, The Cement Garden, London, Pan Books Ltd, 1982, p. 21.
  • Banks, Iain, The Wasp Factory, London, Futura Publications, 1989, p. 86.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

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Death: "The Cement Garden" and "The Wasp Factory" (2012, November 25) Retrieved January 21, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Death: "The Cement Garden" and "The Wasp Factory"" 25 November 2012. Web. 21 January. 2022. <>