Throughout this novel, there seems to be an up and down pattern. Gordon Rankin (“Rank”) struggles with coming face to face with the truth; and there are many theories/common factors I think that affect this. For starters, many of his past situations with close people in his life come into play every other story. I think this is because of his need of reassure, and having to clarify why he is right in this situation between himself and Adam. As well, many of his past relationship’s do play an important role in his story, and I am here to talk about these people and the role/Archetype they play in Rank’s life.
To start off, Sylvie, Rank’s mother. She may be put under the “Care Giver” or “Great Mother” archetype. Rank seems to mention her christianity frequently throughout the novel, and she was also Rank’s adoptive mother. And for Gord, Rank’s adoptive father, he may be put under the archetype “The Provoker”. This is because of his abusive behaviour towards Sylvie, and his overall careless attitude. As Rank converses with his close friend Owen, he confesses his opinion and attitude towards his parents’ relationship. He states, “You know what my mother used to do, when she was worried about something? If Gord was off on a tear or something? She’d haul out her rosary and babble Our Fathers and Hail Marys until she was blue in the face.” I think this is an example of how poorly Sylvie was treated in front of her son, and how greatly Gord plays “The Provoker” archetype.
After hearing Rank’s story, you may think he does not fit the archetype of “The Hero”, but I think he fits just perfectly. Aside from getting in some trouble as a teenager, he is spending much of his time telling his side of his story, and fixing the parts that were presented wrong. As his close friend Adam, who can be defined as “The Trickster”. After being very close friend’s with Rank, Adam decides to share all of Rank’s secrets to the world by writing a novel about them. Heading back to Rank, he may be seen as “The Hero” as he spends much time writing emails to Adam. As for many topics and situations, he says they are still hard to talk about, stating in one of his emails “Despite your early jitters and my monumental inability to get to the point”. Rank can be seen as a hero as he has been forced to come face to face with the truth and what has happened in his life which has shaped him to be who he is.
A common theme in this novel seems to be violence. Whether it is Gord being overpowering at home, or Rank being furious in the parking lot, this common theme is brought up often. To start, Rank describes his fast hit of puberty at the age of fourteen, and said he was so tall he was served beer while out with his dad. His height has been a major topic in this novel, as in many situations has helped him to not only intimidate but injure people who get in his way. For example, when he swung at Mike Croff, a local drug dealer who is always found bugging him and his dad at their food joint, Icy Dream. Rank hit him so badly which caused Mike to crack his skull on the parking lot concrete, and send him to the hospital in a severe coma with major brain injuries. This incident seems to still haunt Rank, as in many other situations he seems to bring up the fact he can crack someone’s skull, but will never be able to bring himself to do that again.
So far in part two of The Antagonist, Rank has brought up many important incidents in his life, which have now been clarified after Adam’s book being released. Looking ahead at part three, I predict that Rank will now start to address the deep secret’s that were released to everyone in Adam’s book, and confess what these true secret’s are, and what they mean to him.
Lynn Coady . The Antagonist . Toronto, ON : House of Anansi Press Inc., 2012. Print.