As a follow-up to the Five Movies Rentokil Would Have Ruined, we are looking at some of the literature Rentokil could have ruined. Read on to find out how.
Charlotte’s Web is the story of an unlikely friendship between a spider named Charlotte and a pig called Wilbur. When the farmer who owns Wilbur wants to slaughter him for Christmas dinner, Charlotte saves his life by spinning webs that sing his praises. Eventually, Charlotte dies, having reached her natural life span, but not before laying eggs to creat a new generation of spider friends for Wilbur.
Though it seems sweet that the little spiders stay with Wilbur, this is in fact an infestation. The farmer easily could have prevented this by moving Charlotte to a nearby tree with a bug catcher. But then the story would have ended abruptly in December.
Paul Edgecomb is in charge of the Cold Mountain Penitentiary, where he meets convict John Coffey who has a strange ability to heal others. He reveals this by reviving an inmate’s pet mouse that had been stomped to death by a sadistic guard, which sets of a chain of events that culminate in his proving his innocence but choosing to be executed to escape the pain of the world.
Yes, he was guilty of saving the life of a creature that at the best of times eats people’s food and at the worst spreads nasty diseases. We wouldn’t go so far as to say the sadistic guard did the right thing, but with a few well-placed mouse traps, Cold Mountain Penitentiary could have been mouse-free in a much more humane way.
Since you probably already know the plot to The Lord of the Rings, you’re probably asking yourself how Rentokil could possibly ruin it. Well, at the climax of the The Two Towers, Gollum leads Sam and Frodo into the lair of Shelob in an attempt to kill the hobbits and steal back the ring. Shelob, you may recall, is a giant spider (a tenuous pest link but a pest none-the-less).
Had we been there, we would have tried to minimise the effect the spider had on the situation by filling in gaps around its nesting site, removing its web (no mean feat!) and removing any hiding places it could move to once spring-cleaning had been carried out.
The gist of the story is that Gregor Samsa wakes one morning only to discover he has transformed into a bug. As he loses the capacity for speech and shrinks to the size of a large insect, his family no longer consider him their son and brother, and he starves to death alone and neglected.
Had the Samsa family used an insect spray, they could have gotten rid of him long before the pain of starvation did. Okay, so this isn’t light or anything, but what do you expect from literature’s bleakest existential novella?
Man and rat have been natural enemies for many millennia. Now, somehow, the tables have turned, and the rats are enjoying a massive feast. Of human flesh. The story centres on Harris, an East London teacher who must face the master of the rats in an epic fight to the death.
If they had called in a professional pest control company from the beginning, they could have created a plan involving poison, traps and gas that would have solved the rat problem whilst simultaneously creating the problem of an industrial scale clean-up operation of all the bodies.
So tell us, what do you think? Which books have we missed out? How would you handle those literary pests?