The Unsolvable Puzzle: Searching for Connections in The Favourite Game
Every horror film fan has seen the face Billy the puppet, the demented character representing the infamous jigsaw killer. He rolls around on his miniature tricycle explaining the rules of “the game” to the unwilling participants: “Live or die. Make your choice.” In Leonard Cohen’s semiautobiographical novel The Favourite Game, Lawrence Breavman is stuck in his own game. Breavman is living his life in a constant state of expectation due to ideas instilled in him by his mother, who is ultimately the cause of his commitment issues. This affects Breavman’s ability to connect with others, ultimately leading to his disconnection from the world.
Breavman’s idea of perfection stems from his mothers inability to achieve her own perfect state: “‘This isn’t my face, not my real face.’ ‘Where is your real face, Mother?’ ‘Look at me. Is this what I look like?’ ‘Where is it, where’s your real face?’ ‘I don’t know, in Russia, when I was a girl’” (10). She is incapable of dealing with her aging self. She instils the idea of perfection in Breavman by demonstrating her own imperfect self. Breavman begins to associate beauty with perfection, and this false connection becomes the basis for his commitment issues. However, this perfection issue only exists in the adult world. As a child, Breavman is still able to find perfection, because his mother was perfect as a child. Lisa is Breavman’s model for beauty. After playing a war style game with Lisa, Breavman can’t help but express his feelings about the girl in the white dress:
She’s perfect, isn’t she, Krantz?’ ‘What’s so perfect about her?’ ‘You saw her. She’s perfect.’…’She’s perfect Krantz, didn’t you see?’ Krantz plugged his ears with his forefingers. They passed Bertha’s Tree. Krantz began to run. ‘She was really perfect, you have to admit it, Krantz.’ Krantz was faster (19-20).
He considers Lisa to be perfect because she embodies the description of the...