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How is the story told in Chapter 12 of Enduring Love?

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Introduction

´╗┐How is the story told in Chapter 12? Ian McEwan uses various aspect of narrative in order to tell the story in Chapter 12. In this chapter McEwan uses a first person retrospective for Joe as he narrates the story and this leads to the reader questioning the reliability of his thoughts and actions, therefore giving the reader a limited view of the situations and the events that occur in the chapter. This chapter differs from the previous chapters slightly as it is told by McEwan in normal chronological order, the author doesn?t abruptly change the mood but follows a more conventional sequence by first telling the story of Joe?s search through Clarissa?s papers and the chapter ending with his decision to visit Mrs. Logan and arriving at her house. McEwan sets this chapter for the most part in Joe?s house which is slowly becoming less of a retreat from Jed Parry?s maddening presence. The letter Joe receives from Parry is very much on his mind in this chapter and the author uses foreshadowing as it is described as ?his first letter? and judging by the perverse nature of the first letter it can only get worse. ...read more.

Middle

We know that Clarissa is taking the Jed Parry situation less seriously than Joe and this is her explanation for Joe?s behaviour. The balloon accident has clearly changed the whole course of their relationship and Clarissa seems to be looking for a way out and accepts the fact that they aren?t able to get on anymore quite easily. Here, McEwan is showing us the beginning of this relationship being tested during this threat from Parry and we can wonder how easily this 7 year relationship can be broken down if it isn?t built upon a solid foundation of common interest and trust. McEwan has presented two very different types of characters and they are both dealing with this situation in very different ways. Clarissa seems to be trying to get away from Joe and straight after reading the letter she gets up immediately and says ?I?ve got to get ready for work?, changing the subject and being evasive so its not a comfortable topic. We are further made to think over Joe?s assertion that Parry is ?the kind of phantom that only I could have called up?. ...read more.

Conclusion

Parry?s letter is, for Joe, a sort of disease and Joe seems to be desperately keeping it under control, when he puts the letter away ?as though to contain the viral spores that were invading our home?, but it might be too late for Joe and Clarissa?s marriage. McEwan gives the reader a final insight into the way Joe?s mind works as he drives up to Mrs. Logan?s house in Oxford to tell her of her husband?s courage. This would seem a brave act but again the author shocks us with Joe realising as he sees the sad, little house that ?I had come to establish my guiltlessness, my innocence of death?. We realise that Joe is perhaps still guilty from his search of Clarissa?s desk and reeling from the letter so he?s trying to re-establish his virtuousness to someone or anyone. This chapter leaves off on a good cliff hanger with this revelation and Joe standing outside Mrs. Logan?s house as McEwan makes the reader want to read on to see what is in store for the characters next in this psychological thriller. ...read more.

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