In Waterland Graham Swift not only addresses the problem of the fears his students face in the here and now, and the prospect of a nightmarish future; but, he also gives an unlikely solution in Tom Crick’s theory of history as explanation and personal story.
We also see in "Waterland" how for some women having a baby is a necessity, almost an obsession and as Mary's knows that scientifically she can no longer have a baby she turns to God and asks for a miracle and when nothing happens her state worsens into what Tom calls a "condition called schizophrenia" and her mind hears a voice telling her to steal a baby.
If, as Linda Hutcheon argues, “the process of narrativization has come to be seen as a central form of human comprehension, of imposition of meaning and formal coherence on the chaos of events” (121), we might ask of Waterland, what desire, or whose, shapes the narrative? Since the production of meaning “involves a subject in a social field” (), the answer to such a question is simultaneously personal and socially inscribed, but provisional. As I explore the ways in which this text calls to me, I hope to expose some of the ways the text itself calls, without being too idiosyncratic and too completely bound in my private, cultural, and novelistic assumptions. I will approach the question by examining the selective baffles that allure—vocabulary, references, readability—but also by suggesting the counter-baffles in the text that frustrate simple desire, and by examining how such dueling narrative desires affect the frustration/infatuation with/of the text.