Otherness, recognition and power
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This study explores the problematic interpersonal relationship between the two main characters, the captor Clegg and the captive Miranda, in John Fowles s The Collector, drawing upon Hegel s ideas of otherness, recognition and power in his master-slave dialectic. First, it presents the problem of otherness that takes place in the unexpected encounter of the two sharply contrasting characters, with an emphasis on their mutual incomprehensibility. Second, it demonstrates that their relationship is characterized by what Hegel calls the struggle for recognition. Finally, it examines the dynamics of their power relationship by analyzing their relationship in terms of a struggle between master and slave. It concludes that as an objective approach to the two characters, the Hegelian reading of The Collector allows us to see the novel as a critique of domination, that is, as an analysis of the necessary failure of self-other relationships based on non-mutual recognition and power, rather than as a case-study of male abnormal behavior or as a parable about the triumph of evil over good.