“Enduring Love” by Ian McEwan Essay Sample

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Through out the modern novel of “Enduring Love” Mcewan presents the character of Jed Parry as being very complex. We are introduced to him in the first chapater by the main charcter Joe, who at first seems to ignore the information of Jed in his narrative of the accident. But in the second chapter Joe is drawn to Jed and considers him more indepth then the other men as most things he does either describe or leads back to Jed in some way. This also indicates some sort of continuation after the accident by using strange phrases such as”Running towards each other like lovers”. On page 21 Mcewan uses a powerful metaphor “the long winter of his obbsession” which reveals to the reader the potencial significance of Parry in the forthcoming narrative. It is also at the end of this chapter that we see the conflicting terms of background and beliefs between Joe, who belives in Science and Jed, who believes in God. We are shown Joes scientific thinking by his descriptions and detail of the death on pg 23 ” The closing down of countless interrelated nural and bio-chemical exchanges combined…”. This contrastes with the very strong religious beliefs of Jed Parry, who translates Joe’s unbeliefing undertone as being an indication for help. This interaction and then sudden removal beween Jed and Joe adds to the readers interest in Parry, as the situation is unresolved.

Parry is then re-introduced by Mcewan very dramatically at the end of the next chapter, creating even more interest in the spiralling relationship between the now two main characters. Parry becomes limited as a character because we only see him through the perspective of Joe or through his letters. These second hand sources shows the reader the very significant change in Jed from being initally harmless to being potentially dangerous through his strong obsession. Mcewan uses Jed’s first letter to Joe in chapter 11 as a device to show the relationship from Jed’s point of view. But also more importantly in this chapter we start to encounter similiarities between the before very contrasting characters. Jed starts to include scientific similies and metaphors within his letter when expressing his romantic love for God and his stong obsession for Joe. He expresses him self on pg93 by saying “electrical current.” And then also using a strong metaphor “with the unspoken love between us as strong as steel cable.” He goes on using another strong metaphor on pg94 by saying “Exploration has begun of the ocean floor but the surface remains undisturbed.”

Up until this point we only consider scientific description and detail to come from Joe due to his being the clear thinking rational scientist and only religious information to come from Jed. But in the letter the two character start to interlink personalities. Mcewan aswell as trying to encourage Joe’s views about Parry’s potential threat, makes Joe an unreliable narrator as the reader starts to questions the possibilitly of Jed being a part of Joe’s imagination. This alternative view of Parry is also seen by Clarissa showing that dispite their love and intimacy she is unable to really know Joe.

Aswell as having blended scientific descriptions, Clarissa’s point of view on pg100 “His writings rather like yours” gives the reader a primary source showing stronger evdience that we are unable to trust Joe’s narrative. At the beginning of this modern novel each of the three characters seemed to have a clear cut purpose. Joe was the rational scientist, Jed was the religious believer and Clarissa was emotional. Now we see that each has swopped their roles. Jed has adapted science into his religious thinking so that he able to entangle Joe’s life with his. Joe has stopped being rational and Mcewan shows his changeability of moods and feelings, but by chapter 18 Joe again appears to be taking control of his emotions and starts to think logically to find a solution to his situation. Clarissa through Joe’s perspective seems to be seemly like Jed in her words. This is shown in chapter 15 when Joe returns and she confronts him about the searching of her desk “It’s a statement, a message, from you to me, it’s a signal.”.

Jed is constantly a threat to Joe but not to others until the ending of the book. The resturant and police station scene in chapters 19 and 20 bring to height whether or not Parry is real. Mcewan gives the reader enough information to think that Parry could have been behind the shooting as he did appear to be there. But he contridicts this by creating an alternative story with the assins, again making Joe’s narrative unreliable. But Parry existance is uncovered and realised in chapters 21 on wards as he takes Clarissa hostage. Now the real threat of Parry is presented and his illness is fully developed. Mcewan creates a very real image of the situation in flat, which makes it very realistic for the reader to imagine. At first we see him as Joe did, a mad man who by threating violence creating suspense and making the reader aprehensive. But in the appendices we are able to pity and even perhaps sympathise with him as his condition of De Clerambault’s syndrome is made real, taking away some blame for the situation.

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