Essay about The Loss of Self Possession

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One of the main themes of Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt is the idea that while searching for the truth of a subject the researchers becomes possessed by their search. Byatt uses many characters as a vehicle for this idea, but the best character that illustrates this would be Mortimer Cropper. Mortimer Cropper is a Randolph Henry Ash scholar. Randolph Henry Ash is one of the most renowned poets in the novel. He is very famous and is an inspiration and influence to many of the poets in the modern age. Mortimer Cropper is the biggest collector and most well-known Ash scholar. He spends his live obsessed with anything having to do with Randolph Ash. From the start of the novel Mortimer Cropper is introduced as a very intimidating and …show more content…
This gives Cropper a sense of completion and superiority to the other Ash scholars, specially his rival Blackadder. "[Cropper] believed [Ash's] watch had come to him," the narrator notes, "that it had been meant to come to him, that he had and held something of R. H. Ash"(Su) . Cropper is so possessed that he believes anything that belonged to Ash has to belong to him as well. It is impossible for Cropper to “own the past” but he believes that by owning what once belonged to Ash he will be able to understand him better. This is a very different view from the one that Roland, another Ash scholar and perhaps the main character of the book, has. Roland believes that the best way of connecting with Ash is by trying to think like him. Cropper does not agree but still thinks that he also thinks like Ash does. Croppers obsession with owning these artifacts becomes so big that when new evidence of a secret romance that Ash had, he believes he owns the letters that prove this romance. He feels as if these letters are his and no one else should, or can own them. It is also shown in the book that he is willing to pay any kind of money to own any of the new Ash artifacts. Blackadder says “I wouldn’t trust anyone, faced with Cropper’s cheque-book, not further than I could see.”(Byatt 35) This shows how Cropper is willing to pay any kind of money, which he has plenty of, to obtain what he wants. John J.

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