This chapter looks closely at the psychological state of the main protagonist of When We Were Orphans, Christopher Banks. It suggests that his disturbance is a direct result of the social and economic contradictions he and his family experienced whilst living in Shanghai in the early part of the twentieth century (Banks’s father worked for Morganbrook and Byatt, a firm that supplied opium to the Chinese and against which his mother campaigned). By using Gregory Bateson’s concept of the double bind, Webley casts light on both Banks’s obsession with the disappearance of his parents and his subsequent vocation as a detective.
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