10 thoughts on “MARK FARLEY: Head Case

      1. I’m an English teacher, and I’ve used it in two of my classes so far. It is also printed and taped above my desk. So, so wonderful. I look forward to reading more of your work!

        1. Wow, I can’t imagine my work being discussed in a class. I’m loving the idea though – thank you!

          This will probably sound horribly pretentious (for which I apologise), but here goes…

          The “cracked white plate” came about via the usual writing goals of specificity and implied symbolism (specificity in the sense that an object with a concrete description will become vivid in the reader’s imagination instead of fading into the background, and implied – rather than obvious – symbolism leaving room for interpretation, which often increases reader engagement).

          I think the plate could be interpreted in a variety of ways and to be honest I can’t remember if I had anything particular in mind when writing this piece. The colour white is often associated with virtuousness, safety and innocence, so adding a crack to the plate hopefully lends a hint of corruption to those ideals, as well as perhaps suggesting something about the queen’s state of mind and her relationship with “him”. There’s also the concept that “they” (whoever they are) are rebuking her in some way, by making the delivery of the head less than perfect. And perhaps the crack could also be taken to imply that her kingdom is falling to pieces under her rule (that’s assuming she does actually have a kingdom, and she is actually a real queen).

          Or it could just be a plate that happens to be white and cracked :-)

          This reply is now far longer than the original story so I should probably shut up! I’m sure your class have come up with much more imaginative interpretations than these. I’d love to hear the ideas sometime!

          1. This was actually really close to the boys’ answers! We talked about the crack signifying a possible rupture in the kingdom, or a war or that it reflected the damage done to the relationship by the death of a beloved person. We hadn’t thought of the prospect of subversive subjects! That puts a new spin on things. We discussed the identity of the body as well – a few of the boys thought he was a lover, as he lay in the same bed (often Kings and Queens slept separately, and only the lover was let into the bed ) and others thought he was a beloved son (as the Queen wanted to regain the dreams that she could have had as his mother). I’m trying it with slightly older boys tomorrow – looking forward to it!

  1. Just flicking through the archives, and realised I’d never commented on this one. An exceptional piece of writing Mark, I really enjoyed this one! GP

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