“Enduring Love” by Ian McEwan Essay Sample

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One of the first things we learn about Jed Parry is that he seems to be un-phased by the accident he had just witnessed and was more interested in Joe Rose, ‘even then he was more interested in me.’ The reader could assume that this is not normal behaviour as all the other witnesses were highly disturbed by the dead body. This could indicate that Jed had a very different mentality to the other characters and is the first sign of his obsession with Joe Rose.

We also learn that Jed is a devout believer and has a very strong faith in God. He is labelled by Clarissa early on in the book as a ‘Jesus Freak’ as he is the complete opposite to Joe who is a strong believer in science. Jed reveals his belief in God by asking Joe to pray with him, ‘what we could do… is to pray together?’ This demonstrates how Jed turns to God in his times of need and also advises it to Joe. Joe refuses to pray however ‘Parry wasn’t giving up.’ This is the first hint that we get of Parry’s very persistent and pestering personality. Parry is a very motivated character and constantly tries to get his way. Another occasion he harasses Joe is when he is trying to convince him to meet him. ‘Just see me this once, just once hear me out and you’ll never have to hear from me again.’ This desperate plea is very convincing and shows us how dedicated Jed is to getting close to Joe.

Parry also comes across as painfully introverted and awkward. On his second meeting with Joe ‘his eyes made a nervous pass across [Joe’s] face, and then turned down.’ This demonstrates how Parry may be somewhat of a social outcast and a loner. This could be a result of his obsessive mannerisms. Parry also appears to be a very sensitive character. He is full of love, ‘I feel it too, I love you’, he is not hateful or bitter most of the time. His sensitivity is shown when he ‘puts his hands over his face and start[s] to cry.’ However, this kind of behaviour seems rather pathetic coming from a grown man and makes the reader feel somewhat pitiful of him.

In Jed’s relationship with Joe, Parry seems to push the blame on to Joe a lot of the time. ‘You don’t have to do this to me’ demonstrates how Parry claims to be the victim in this situation. He tries to make Joe responsible for everything, when Jed’s emotions are clearly a result of his own delusions. He also accuses Joe of being ‘very cruel.’ Jed does not give a proper explanation as to why he thinks Joe is cruel; this shows he is probably quite insecure.

Jed is also delusional in the sense that he imagines that Joe reciprocates his love. ‘You love me, you love me and there’s nothing I can do but return your love.’ Joe does not show obvious signs of affection towards Jed in anyway, so this is an indication that Jed is probably quite mentally unstable. He lives in a fantasy world and often misinterprets Joe’s actions.

Finally, Jed plays a big role in destroying Joe and Clarissa’s relationship. The first way he does this is to come between their trusts. We first see Clarissa having doubts in Jed when she says ‘Perhaps Parry or the Parry as described by Joe does not exist.’ This is when their trust begins to break down and it can only get deteriorate more as Parry’s stalking begins to worsen.

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