I intend to analyse how Iain Banks uses the techniques Essay Example
I intend to analyse how Iain Banks uses the techniques Essay Example

I intend to analyse how Iain Banks uses the techniques Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1322 words)
  • Published: August 24, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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The victims were all men who had a negative reputation.

Elle Haddock questions whether the existence of individuals such as arms dealers, child porn merchants, and irresponsible business men justified the killer's decision to end their lives. The protagonist of Ian Banks' novel 'Complicity', the sinister character Andy, also contemplates this same dilemma. The website footle.net asserts that this is the central conflict of the book, with the killer ultimately being forced to confront the consequences of their actions.

The novel centers on themes of loathing, politics, relationships, and responsibility, which are illuminated through Banks' use of characterization and symbolism in exploring specific relationships. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, the story follows Cameron Colley, a journalist for the Caledonian newspaper. Cameron has a laid-back approach to life and


indulges in vices such as speed, cigarettes, and computer games. The plot kicks off when Cameron begins receiving anonymous phone calls that he believes could lead to a major scoop.

Throughout the novel, Banks carefully develops the characters while telling the story of Colley, who becomes the prime suspect for a series of brutal murders after following clues. The actions of these murders are cleverly interleaved in the story and are oddly narrated in second person. For example, "You hear the faint distant screams just as you take the bike key from your pocket." The climax occurs when Colley realizes that his best friend Andy is, in fact, Mr. Archer, the one and only person behind the murders. Shockingly, it has been Andy who set Colley up all along. Despite the excruciating detail and horrific scenes, Banks adds his usual hint of black humor to this novel.


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characterisation skills of the author shine through in the portrayal of Cameron Colley. This eccentric yet endearing character is diagnosed with cancer due to his willful approach to life. The reader is given a glimpse of his persona before it is fully revealed. Being set in literary Edinburgh, the reader expects a high-class reporter, well-dressed, married with children and living in a comfortable house. However, the reader's assumptions are shattered as they find out that Colley's life revolves around drugs, alcohol and a computer game. To add to this, his only relationship lacks both morality and emotion.

In the story of Complicity, relationships play a crucial role. Cameron wants excitement instead of commitment and engages in sexual games with Yvonne, who manipulates and uses him. She asserts her control over the situation. Cameron lives alone in a diminutive apartment and lacks friends except for Andy, an old schoolmate whose loyalty is questionable.

The novel focuses heavily on relationships, including not just Yvonne and Cameron's. One of the most important relationships in the book is Cameron's long-time friendship with Andy, which began when they were both ten years old.

During his late teens, he suffered the loss of his sister and held multiple individuals responsible for it. It is later revealed that the people he has killed as Mr Archer were the ones he blamed for Clare's death. As a former soldier, Mr Archer exhibits a wide range of knowledge of killings and torture, and he is known for being ruthless. The events involving Mr Archer are narrated in the second person, providing insight into the killer's emotions and thoughts.

Utilizing narrative technique enables the reader to participate in

the story and assume control over the character, creating a sense of vulnerability. Despite Mr. Archer's characterization as ruthless and sinister, his thoughts reveal a level of compassion as he considers the maid. “I half admired her, half despised her” showcases Mr. Archer's complex emotions and his capacity for empathy. Thus, he still retains some feelings for others despite his dark nature.

Andy's character is ironic as he strongly opposes Thatcherism and those in power like doctors, politicians, and newspaper reporters whom he believes misuse their authority. This attitude is shaped by various events, most notably Claire's death. In a flashback, it is revealed that Andy had a close brush with death himself, having been submerged under ice for over 10 minutes.

During a particular event, Cameron came to a realization of his own personal changes. Although he understood that people frequently undergo change, he perceived that his transformation differed. His encounter with Andy also altered his outlook. Cameron recognized how close he came to losing Andy when they ran across a frozen bed of ice. Additionally, an incident involving an older man attempting to sexually assault Cameron impacted both boys. The man made an attempt to unzip Cameron's jeans, but luckily the situation did not escalate further.

Andy's desire for revenge on Cameron may be influenced by the rape he suffered after protecting him and being abandoned. However, despite the traumatic event, their friendship endured and they remain close twenty years later. Their shared experiences are a key aspect of the novel's title, "Complicity" - implying a partnership in wrongdoing. This becomes particularly relevant at the end of the story when Cameron must decide whether to turn

Andy in for his murders or keep their bond intact, considering all they have been through together.

This novel highlights the theme of responsibility, which is primarily portrayed through Banks' use of symbolism. The responsibility of life and taking ownership for one's actions is a crucial message conveyed. Ultimately, Cameron bears great responsibility and has the final say in the matter.

It has been previously stated that 'despot', the computer game, holds great power over Cameron Colley's life. The game serves as a crucial component in comprehending Cameron's existence, as it is a symbolic representation of his life - the game adapts and transforms alongside Cameron's own experiences.

The objective of the game is to construct and operate a functional city where people can reside. In the novel, Colley has already built his city, which appears close to perfection and tough to ruin. Correspondingly, his life also seems impregnable during this period, as Colley possesses a home, employment, finances, and a somewhat romantic affiliation. Essentially, everything appears fully developed.

Despite its imperfections, the game, like Colley's life, has its own set of issues. The game's sustainability is limited without human input, which causes it to deteriorate. Similarly, Cameron's life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Being away from the game and imprisoned for a while has resulted in him neglecting his personal life. The similarity between the game and Colley's life becomes apparent when he realizes the adverse events happening, such as Yvonne's departure and the need to leave home for security reasons, all due to his profession.

As his game falls apart and requires reconstruction, Cameron comes to the realization that he has not taken sufficient responsibility in his

life. The excessive smoking of cigarettes also causes him to face the possibility of having cancer, emphasizing the need for change before it's too late.

The perspective in the novel shifts to second person, which seems ironic for the reader. Similar to how Cameron views life through a computer screen, we experience the story through a book and are unaware that we contradict Colley's viewpoint. As we become immersed in the narrative, we should consider integrating the themes into our own lives.

By justifying all the assumptions made in the novel, Banks shows readers how to learn from Colley's mistakes. The relevance of flashbacks and hidden messages in the dominant events of the book become clear. It is revealed that Andy only killed those who exerted a dominating influence on his life, such as the doctors who failed to save Claire, child porn merchants, and irresponsible businessmen. While sympathizing with Andy in some ways, it is acknowledged that his abusive use of power goes against his own protest and raises questions about whether allowing a killer to end lives is justifiable, as Ms Elle Haddock also questions.

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