“The Bats of Remorse hang upside down in the Cave of Grief.” Discuss.
Model Answer : It is a fact of nature that bats, sometimes many hundreds of them, hang upside down in caves. The author is making use of this image to comment upon human frailty, specifically the emotionally disruptive lacerations of remorse and grief. Bats are linked with remorse, the cave with grief. As we read and digest the phrase, tears well up in our eyes, and we begin to sob. Our past griefs may come tumbling back inside our heads, the inside of the head very much like a cave, if we think of the skull as stone, with crags and dents. The flutterings we feel inside it, synapses snapping as we are racked by remorse, can be thought of as bats swooping in to the cave to take up their perches. Once in place, they hang there twitching occasionally, just as the lashings of remorse twitch within the porale of grief. Crucially, the writer is implying that when we stop blubbing like girlies, and dry our eyes, and grasp our Alpenstock in readiness for a healthy hike in the mountains to wash all this mawkish drivel out of our heads, the bats remain hanging there, upside down within. They do not go away. The lesson is self-evident, and is imprinted upon our consciousness, even when we are atop the mountain, panting, buffeted by a high freezing wind.
Note : Extra points will be awarded to those who correctly identify the text as a line from Dennis Beerpint’s magisterial piece Versified Outpourings From The Batcave, recently reissued by Twee Threnodies Ltd.