Analysis

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 481

Clive Barker’s technique as a fantasist is modern and adult, full of erotic imagery and well-developed human characters. Cal and Suzanna are swept into the increasing strangeness of their situation with a dazzling rapidity. Barker’s style is breathless and generally unadorned by long buildups of menace and atmosphere. The novel...

(The entire section contains 481 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Weaveworld study guide. You'll get access to all of the Weaveworld content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Critical Essays
  • Analysis
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Clive Barker’s technique as a fantasist is modern and adult, full of erotic imagery and well-developed human characters. Cal and Suzanna are swept into the increasing strangeness of their situation with a dazzling rapidity. Barker’s style is breathless and generally unadorned by long buildups of menace and atmosphere. The novel is planted in the physical now, so the entry into the Fugue does not signal a break from the real world but is only a wondrous intermission. Cal repeatedly falls out of the fantasy back to the ordinary, grimy world of Liverpool and contemporary England. This is a novel about the miraculous interpenetrating the real, and its resolution lies not in the land of faerie but in southern England.

There is a powerful psychological underpinning to this novel, for it touches the mythic sources of all human struggle. Shadwell, the Salesman, is driven by a desire for power that is exercised in making others want something that only he can give. His magic jacket, the lining of which shows his customers whatever they most desire, is the symbol of his power. He falls victim to his own strategy when he desires to possess the Fugue and its power for himself. When his violence costs him his treasure, his vengeance is personified in the Scourge. Hobart, the policeman, sees himself as an angel of right, but when Shadwell’s jacket reveals that his innermost desire is fire and destruction, he becomes the natural agent for Uriel’s occupation.

The novel has a sense of rightness about its characters and events that signals to the reader a deeper pattern. At the heart of this pattern is the place of magic in the world and in every human imagination. The Fugue contains the essence of dreams, all the secret and wonderful quiet places stolen from the Earth for the Seerkind to live in. There Cal can remember and recite the verses of his poet ancestor, Mad Mooney, and there the Seerkind live in the cozy safety of the imagined ideal place. Barker vividly captures Cal’s longing for this place beyond the drab and ordinary world, a place (and its people) worth any sacrifice.

The horrors that Barker creates, such as the Immacolata’s weird wraithlike sisters and the Scourge, also reach deep into the psyche. There lie distorted sexual fantasies and all the stories of the Beast. It is clear that there are always human equivalents, such as the Immacolata as the frustrated and furious man-hating virgin and Hobart as the excessively righteous and blindly destructive man.

The yearning for the good place is satisfied not by escape to it but by its integration into the real. Barker sweeps the reader through struggle and wonder, partly in and partly out of the real world. His story rings true. This is a mature fantasy, pitting ancient darkness against modern sense and feeling.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Weaveworld Study Guide

Subscribe Now