I wrote some time ago about the image of bluebottles in the writing of C. S. Lewis, Robert Graves, and George Orwell, describing how two different kinds of bluebottle — the fly and the flower — had become entwined for me in this image. Interestingly, at least to me, I recently came across a reference to the flower part of this image in William Golding’s Free Fall, and even more interestingly, the reference appears in the context of death and World War II, both of which were elements that I discussed in my previous post. The strangest part of the reference, however, is how randomly it appears in the novel. The main character, Sammy Mountjoy, is being interrogated by a German officer named Halde, when the reference to the cornflower (another name for a bluebottle flower) is inserted almost randomly into the dialogue. I will quote the whole section, beginning with the words of Halde:
“Tell me everything you know about the escape organization and you shall be what you were before, neither more nor less. You shall be taken from this camp to another camp, neither more nor less comfortable. The source of our information shall be concealed.'”
“Why don’t you talk to the senior officer?”
“Who would confide in a senior officer?”
“Why won’t you believe me?”
“Who would believe you, Mr. Mountjoy, if he had any sense?”
The reference to cornflowers could hardly be more random, seemingly even less motivated that the instances of the image that I had discovered previously, and once more it used here by an English writer of that generation, one who went to school at Oxford and fought in World War II and wrote in a wide variety of literary genres. I have no idea what to make of this, but I am utterly fascinated.