Squid Imagery

I’m really interested in the figure of the squid in this section of the book, and how its interaction with the father figure helps to show us more about him as a character. In particular, I’m interested by the behavior of the squid as the two are fighting and spiraling into the darkness of the lake. It seems to me that, most noticeably, the squid is acting as a reflecting tool on Bell’s part; his actions reveal the nature of the narrator before he becomes changed by his experiences. Considering Bell’s selection of detail surrounding their struggle, I think we’re able to infer that he’s using this action to illustrate the father figure’s actions, before he began to realize that they are wrong. Bell describes the squid as pushing and fighting to rip into the narrator as they descend into the blackness of the lake; a weighty choice, I think, to describe the squid’s attempt to enter the narrator.

There’s one particular line that describes this: “The squid-ghost swam on, not farther down but further in, trying to squirm its ghosts into the spaces I contained, that space that in me was already filled with my own fractured haunts, my cancer-son, and would admit no other” (165). To me this imagery seems to link to the ideas of violation and force that seem to characterize the early relationship of the father and his wife; he wants a child so badly, and wants also to be a part of his wife, to possess and own her. This could have led to rape, as realize throughout the scenes in the deep house. Similarly, this squid character is fixated on possessing offspring — and similarly, he tries to enter and possess the narrator through force.   


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