The Third Policemen

Improved Essays
The world has been intricately designed by use of layers. According to the mimetic theory, art imitates life and Flann O’Brien, in The Third Policemen, employs the motif of layers to construct his novel. With each layer, comes more information yet at the same time, more questions. This use of layers cause the readers to examine more in depth, creating the notion that there is always another layer beyond what is immediately present. The story itself is presented in a world filled with layers. In the opening chapter, readers come to know that the surface world is Ireland. This world is normal, governed by the laws of everyday life, following order, and goes on without absurdity. Once the narrator opens the bomb-box from Divney, and dies, he …show more content…
It is here where the bomb goes off, forcing the narrator into the next layer of life. Immediately after he enters this layer, he opens his eyes to find Mather’s sitting across from him. The two begin to talk, and Mathers tells the narrator of the policemen who have the ability to tell the time a person will die. They do this by placing layer upon layer of thinly made clothing of a single repeated color onto a person. “With each year and each gown, the colour will get deeper and more pronounced...Finally a day will come when the addition of one further gown will actually achieve real and full blackness. On that day [you] will die” (34). With each layer that the policemen add, the wearer of the clothing knows that they are a year close to death. However each layer also adds the question of how much close he or she is to death as …show more content…
The sole purpose of a box is the hold something. What makes a box a box is its capability to enclose something, forming a layer around it. When the narrator is talking to Policeman MacCruiskeen, the narrator sees a mysterious box that catches his attention. “I do not often look at boxes or chests, ' I said, simply, ' but this is the most beautiful box I have ever seen and I will always remember it” (70) The narrator wonders what inside the box, and MacCruiskeen opens the box, reavealing another box. He was manipulating and prodding with his pin till he had twenty-eight little chests on the table and the last of them so small that it looked like a bug or a tiny piece of dirt (74) Which each box being opened, the narrator knows of what is inside, yet at the same time each box brings the question of whether or not the new box contains another. The smallest of the boxes become invisible to the naked eye, causing the narrator to begin to even question his own senses and sanity. “At this point I became afraid. What he was doing was no longer wonderful but terrible. I shut my eyes and prayed that he would stop” (73). These boxes started off as mystical things, but which each layer brought an ironic sense of both awe and confusion, answering previous questions while at the same time causing the narrator to go mad at the arrival of new ones. Everything in life is comprised of layers,

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