Tag Archives: norman

BOOK CORNER: PSYCHO by Robert Bloch

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

Psycho was written in the year 1959 by American author Robert Bloch. The book is so-so-so-so very scary that one might even feel scared, in meeting its author.  The novel is widely recognized, as Bloch’s, most illustrious work. So intensely written, that even while narrating it to you now, I get a feeling as if someone is standing behind me.

    The book was later adapted into Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal 1960 film of the same name, and was loosely adapted into the Bates Motel television series of (2013-2017). Bloch later wrote two sequels, which are unrelated to any of the film sequels.

    The novel tells the story of Norman Bates, caretaker of an isolated motel who struggles under his domineering Mother and gets embroiled in a series of murders. 

     Norman Bates is the main protagonist of this novel, who traces his struggles with insanity, particularly, split personality disorder. In the novel, Norman is described, as in mid-forties, overweight, pale, and balding. As a child, Norman had an extremely dysfunctional, even abusive relationship, with his Mother that forever changed his ability to relate normally in society. As an adult, Norman lives alone with his Mother and runs the Bates Motel. When the novel opens, Norman is reading about the Oedipus Situation or Complex with the hope of understanding more about his strange relationship with his Mother. It’s clear that Norman’s relationship with his Mother has deeply affected the way he views all women, particularly women, to whom he is sexually attracted. Norman drinks as an excuse to block the strange voices in his head—arguably his Mother’s voice—telling him that he’s not good enough, and reminding him that he’s impotent.

    All in all ‘Psycho’ is a horror story of Norman Bates, and his strange relationship with his Mother, and the motel he runs on the side of a deserted highway.

    The novel opens with an image of a forty-year-old Norman Bates reading in his office. His Mother approaches and chides him for reading filthy material. The two get into a vicious fight is when the Mother lambasts Norman. He is too weak, and too afraid to stand up to her. She challenges everything of Norman, from his social skills to his sexual predilections while he silently takes the abuse. In his head, however, he imagines the release he would feel if he killed his Mother, but the buzzer ringing at the front door breaks him from his thoughts. Someone needs a room in the motel.

    Its a woman who needs a room. Mary Crane, has just driven across several states in the pouring rain. Norman doesn’t know that Mary Crane has stolen $40,000 from her real estate boss. She hopes to meet Sam Loomis, her fiancé with whom she’s been having a long distance relationship, and with this money she wants to settle his debts, and start a married life together. After getting lost on the highway, Mary pulls into the Bates Motel and asks for a room. Norman, who has clearly never interacted with young women, shyly asks Mary, up to the house for dinner. She accepts, but when she hears of the horrific, and seemingly abusive, relationship that Norman has with his Mother, she gently suggests that Norman put her in an institution. This idea outrages Norman, who shouts and screams that his Mother is normal: “She’s not crazy!” Mary quietly excuses herself, and returns to her motel room, and vows to return the money she’s stolen so that she doesn’t end up being tortured by guilt. Moments later, an old woman enters Mary’s room while she’s in the shower and beheads her.

    In the moments before Mary was murdered, Norman had been watching her undress through a peephole in his office. He was drinking at that time, and passed out in his chair. He awoke to find Mary’s corpse and immediately suspected his Mother to be the murderer. He momentarily considers letting Mother go to the prison, but the thought of being separated from her is too much for him. He knows he must protect her, help cover up her crimes. Norman methodically cleans up the murder scene, just as he remembers cleaning up the scene with Mother and “Uncle Joe” all those years ago. He deposits Mary’s corpse and the car into the sinkhole behind the motel and assumes he has got away with the murder. Meanwhile, Mary’s old boss, Mr. Lowery, hires a private detective to track Mary in order to recover his $40,000 that she had stolen. The detective, Mr. Arbogast, traces Mary to the motel and now stands knocking at the door, demanding to speak with Norman, or his Mother. Moments later, the same mysterious figure, who appears to be an old woman, attacks Arbogast and slits his throat. Norman deposits Arbogast’s body and the car in the same sinkhole.

    Unfortunately for Norman, Mary Crane’s little sister Lila by now had grown suspicious of her sister’s disappearance. She meets up with Sam Loomis to search for her. They too trace Mary back to the Bates Motel, Lila is now convinced that something terrible has happened to Mary in the motel only.

    She notifies the local sheriff, but he insists that she is wrong. He tells her that Norman Bates is harmless, and that his mother has been dead for years now (after she poisoned herself and her lover, “Uncle Joe”). Unconvinced, Lila arranges for Sam Loomis to distract Norman while she explores the house searching for clues. Although Sam does his best to distract Norman, he drops his guard when Norman smashes a whisky bottle over Sam’s head, knocking him unconscious. Meanwhile, as Lila explores the house, she finds a tiny shrivelled woman whom she assumes is Mrs. Bates. But as she approaches, she discovers that the woman is actually a taxidermal corpse or you could say a stuffed corpse. Norman appears behind Lila, dressed in his mother’s clothes and speaking in a high, affected voice saying, “I am Norma Bates.” He raises a butcher knife and pounces on Lila, but Sam, who wakes up from his stupor well on time, manages to wrestle Norman away from her and hold him there until he is arrested. In the weeks that follow, it is discovered that Norman only had murdered his mother and her lover, “Uncle Joe.” To mask the guilt he felt over the murders, Norman developed a split personality in which Mother became his alternate self. At the trial, Norman is found to be insane and is institutionalized or you could say imprisoned in a house prison for life.

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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BOOK CORNER: THE PIECE OF STRING by Guy De Maupassant

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

 

THE PIECE OF STRING

By Guy De Maupassant

    The story is set in the little village of Norman. It is about several months into the life of Maitre Hauchecorne, an old peasant. On an autumn market-day in Goderville, Hauchecorne is about to enter the square when he sees a piece of string on the ground. And he being of the saving kind, picks the string and keeps it with him. As he does so, he becomes aware that an enemy of his, M. Malandain, the local harness maker, is watching him. Ashamed to be seen picking up a remnant of string, the protagonist furtively hides it in his clothing and then pretends to be looking for something of value on the ground. With his head bent over in his intent search, he moves on towards the market.

    A few hours later, Hauchecorne is having his noon meal at the local tavern, Jordain’s, which is filled with local peasants, their gossipy chatter, and the powerful odour of food cooking. Twice the meal and the chatter are interrupted. First, by the voice of the town crier, who gravely announces the loss by M. Houlbreque of a pocketbook containing five hundred franc. Second, by the appearance of the chief of gendarmes, who summons Hauchecorne to see the mayor on business.

    Leaving his meal, the protagonist hurries to the mayor’s office. Where, he is unofficially confronted with the charge of having found Houlbreque’s pocketbook and of keeping it. The sole witness to the incident is Malandain, says the mayor. Hauchecorne sputters in rage at the accusation coming from his enemy. His defense—one that he shouts over and over—is that no one could seriously mistake a pocketbook for a piece of string. Those present do not believe him, and they say so, which enrages Hauchecorne even more. Malandain appears, and his reiterating of the charge against the protagonist leads to a lengthy and bitter exchange between them. To prove his innocence, Hauchecorne insists on being searched. But no pocketbook or large sum of money is found on him. The mayor dismisses him with a warning that as mayor he will consult a higher authority in the matter.

    Out in the village again, old Hauchecorne finds that many of the peasants have already heard of the event. But to set the record straight Hauchecorne begins to restate what he told the mayor and the others. That he found a piece of string and came across no pocketbook. To dramatize his points he turns his pockets inside out. Both his friends and strangers boldly tell him that they place no faith in his story, and that he is indeed an old rascal and a rogue.

    On his way home that night, and after his evening meal, he again stops his neighbours and strangers and again goes over his litany of facts in relation to the string and the pocketbook and the mayor’s false accusation. But sadly no single peasant steps forward to support his claim of innocence.

    The day’s events have made him ill. The next day, however, the pocketbook and its contents are found on the road and returned to their rightful owner. In his hour of triumph, Hauchecorne goes into the village and endlessly recounts the charge made against him the previous day and then the good news that fully exonerates him. Indeed, he spends the rest of the day on the road, returning often to the square to spread the news. At first he is convinced that his big adventure has ended most favourably for him, but as the day wears on, he senses that something is still wrong. He was easy now, yet something was worrying him without his knowing exactly what it is. People had a joking manner while they listened to him. They did not seem convinced. He seemed to feel their remarks behind his back.

    A week later, having brooded over the collective reaction to his supposed vindication, the protagonist returns once more to the Goderville market and once more confronts his peers with the details of the found string and the lost and returned pocketbook. On the streets and in Jordain’s, the response to Hauchecorne is the same: That he is guilty and both he and they know it. From time to time that day, he is even told that he had an accomplice who gave back the pocketbook, once Hauchecorne’s name had become implicated in the theft.

    Angry, dejected, and confused, he is unable to finish his meal at Jordain’s and is forced to return home amid the sound of mocking laughter. Going over and over in his mind the events that began one week before, Hauchecorne tries to come to terms with what has happened to him. He is positive of one thing. He is unable to prove his innocence because his reputation in Goderville for being crafty is well-known. He is, perhaps, capable of having done what they accused him of and even of boasting of it as a good trick. In other words, his reputation has preceded him—and that did not stand him in good stead now.

    Once he had prided himself on these tricky business practices. But now he had understood that those practices had predisposed his peasant neighbours and friends to doubt his innocence. The Norman peasant, suspicious by nature, was ready to think the worst of old Hauchecorne, and what all he could do.

    The gross injustice weighs heavily on the protagonist’s mind. He sees himself as being alone in the community (in fact, Guy de Maupassant does not mention Hauchecorne’s family, if he does have one). He knows, he has no defenders and many accusers. His brooding continues. His mind begins to get affected by his need to convince them that he is no dissembler. Hauchecorne goes forth every day in the village, redoubling his efforts to persuade any and all that he spied a piece of string in the road and put it in his pocket, but about the pocketbook, he knows nothing. The cruelty of the peasants is such that Hauchecorne becomes in short order, a butt of public jokes. The more they ask him to recite his tale of woe, the more elaborate and the more subtle his argument for his innocence becomes; as always, he is never believed.

    The protagonist falls ill in late December and is bedridden for some time. Early in January, he dies. In his deathbed delirium, his denials of wrongdoing are focused in a single phrase uttered repeatedly: “A little bit of string—a little bit of string.”

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****