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A comparative essay of the openings of 'Enduring Love' and 'Knowledge of Angels'.

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Introduction

A comparative essay of the openings of 'Enduring Love' and 'Knowledge of Angels' Compare and contrast the openings of the novels 'Enduring Love' and 'Knowledge of Angels'. Examine in detail both form and content, and assess the effectiveness of each as a beginning of a novel. 'Enduring Love' by Ian McEwan and 'Knowledge of Angels' by Jill Patton Walsh are two very different novels, concerning very different subject matters, yet both have managed to master capturing the reader's avid attention and imagination in their enthralling openings. One about a catastrophe involving a hot air balloon, another set on a distant Mediterranean island, both novels have the essential components to a compelling introduction. They not only provide the reader with an insight into the novel, but when written in an original and intriguing style, as both these novels have been, the reader becomes drawn in, causing them to read on. The first line of the two introductions are both equally fascinating. 'Enduring Love' begins with suspense, as the first line, "The beginning was simple to mark", causes the reader to question the beginning of what, exactly? ...read more.

Middle

In addition to this, throughout the opening, a deliberate narrative technique used by McEwan is to apply questions to keep the reader's interest, delaying the provision of information about what was wrong. The narrator asks himself "What was Clarissa doing?...What were we running towards?" , which slows the pace and changes to what the other characters were doing, for example, how his partner Clarissa and the other characters arrived at the scene of emergency. This almost acts as a freeze frame, causing further tension to build up, drawing the reader back into the novel. Not only does this encourage the reader to focus on what's actually happening, but also at the same time, it provides an opportunity for the narrator to introduce a bigger picture of the characters. In contrast, 'Knowledge of Angels' is unique in the way that the presence of the author is known throughout. The reader is immediately thrown into a very abrupt beginning, and put in a position to obey the writer. She does this by using extremely descriptive text rather than allowing the reader to imagine his or her own island as a setting for the novel. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think this was down to the fact that the narrator of the book withholds vital information from the reader in order to create anxiety from within, "I'm holding back the information". Although the narrator builds up the tension that leads to this catastrophe, he doesn't inform the reader of what is install for him and the other characters, but most importantly, doesn't say what the actual emergency that caused five men to run to, was until the very last minute. I found that this caused me to quicken my pace of reading in order to find out what had happened, proving it to be more effective. In conclusion, I think that the introductions to the novels 'Enduring Love' and 'Knowledge of Angels' proved to be effective in that they grasped the attention of and managed to maintain the interest of the reader. In both cases, I'm sure the majority of readers would want to read on after reading these first chapters. They were interesting as openings as both authors adopted several literary techniques, which only added to their ability to captivate the reader's imagination, and overall they were definitely effective as the beginnings of novels. Joanna Lowe Page 1 English Literature ...read more.

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