Apt Pupil - Why Dussander/Denker never says Todd's name

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Well-Known Member
Apr 4, 2018
I think being submissive went against what Dussander wanted for himself. His nightmares seem to be caused by a fear of being punished for what he'd done, and maybe even a little bit of guilt for his atrocities against humankind. But if you look closer his sickness and nightmares are caused by his separation from these things, not by any compulsive sense of of regret for his inhumanity. He enjoyed what he did and even misses it. His nightmares return only as he lets time grow between his "fixes", such as what he does with neighborhood cats. Indeed one great timespan of relief from his nightmares is the result of how he treats the cat he lures with milk.

Refusing to address Todd by his name is probably a way of dehumanization as mentioned above. Dussander's idealogies dictated that Germans were superior humans and Todd has him by the balls (in the beginning anyway.) This is a small defiance towards a perceived inferior daring to call the shots. But it could be an even deeper indication of utter apathy towards non-Germans. Like what was also said above about keeping Todd anonymous, he's not even worth considering as a human being to Dussander.

I think this is an example of the amazing nuance Mr. King can bring to his writing. Much like he can make the reader feel sorry for Harold in The Stand, he made Dussander seem haunted by fear for what he had done when really he was being eaten away inside by the absense of people to torture.

I haven't read this story for 18 years and am in the middle of reading it again now so my memory is fuzzy about where it goes.
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