• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Effectiveness of Chapter One as an Opening to "Enduring Love".

Extracts from this document...


The Effectiveness of Chapter One as an Opening to "Enduring Love" The opening chapter to Ian McEwan's "Enduring Love" is possibly one of the most remarkable opening chapters to date. McEwan's brilliant use of language, structure, themes, realistic characters and plot combine to keep the reader in suspense and in a state of anxiety. Reading the first sentence immediately instils a sense of anxiety; "The beginning is simple to mark." This subconsciously tells the reader that if the beginning is simple, the rest must be complicated, confusing, anything but simple. The whole chapter is filled with words that point towards darker, more sinister events. They "heard the man's shout", "saw the danger" and in particular "What idiocy, to be racing into this story and its labyrinths, sprinting away from our own happiness" This sentence confirms the suspicions that "The beginning is simple to mark" should of given. The sentence tells us that whatever he, Joe, is running towards, is more than just the obvious, it is a maze of possibilities, a "labyrinth" of stories, ending in Joe and Clarissa becoming unhappy. ...read more.


Joe imagines looking at the scene through a buzzard's eye; " I see us three hundred feet up, through the eyes of a buzzard we had watched earlier, soaring circling and dipping" Not only does this give the reader a clearer idea of what is happening, the six men running towards the centre of a field, but it also is a personification of the scene in Joe's mind, threatening, distant, yet demanding attention. It could be that the buzzard is symbolic, representing the stalker that comes into the novel later on. McEwan gives the reader a clear image of the characters without having to directly describe them to us. The name "Clarissa" and the fact they are drinking "1987 Daumas Gassac" immediately points towards middle class characters. Later in the chapter, we are told, "apart from the flat and our car, it was the most expensive single item I had ever bought." This item he is referring to is actually a book Joe has bought for Clarissa. ...read more.


The only other theme aside from death in chapter one is love. This is shown in the picnic and the discussion about love letters. Clarissa's opinion of love letters is "that love that did not find its expression in a letter was not perfect". This is of little interest until the second reading of the book, where it is symbolic of later happenings, as further on in the book, Jed sends passionate love letters to Joe. At this point, the only indication of this is the way Joe describes him and Jed as "rushing towards each other, like lovers." The imagery used is very visual and varied, adding to the sense of foreboding and violence. Some such examples would be "fatal lack of co-operation", "puny human distress", "it were as though an express train were traversing the treetops, hurtling towards us", "a mighty fist socked the balloon". The chapter closes with a fine example where "ruthless gravity" takes the life of John Logan, "a stiff little black stick". In conclusion, this first chapter is a worthy example of the start of a novel full of suspense, menace and tragedy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Ian McEwan section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Ian McEwan essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Analysis of the opening chapter of 'Atonement'

    4 star(s)

    It is suggested later in the novel that the cause of the father, Jack Tallis' continued absence may be due to an affair, however Emily Tallis rejects this idea preferring not "to know why Jack spent so may executive nights in London."

  2. What view would a feminist critic take on "Enduring Love" by Ian McEwan?

    McEwan however, has portrayed Clarissa in the opposite light, as she does not rely solely on Joe and his ability to provide for her. Contrary to this, feminists may find it a positive aspect, as it portrays women capable of providing for themselves and gaining power almost equal to that of men.

  1. Analysis of page 19-21 of "Atonement".

    In my opinion, it is Cecilia?s view that she feels restrained by everything that feels familiar as she later describes ?strangeness? as being ?delicious. Furthermore, through the descriptions of herself, Briony admits to being, as a child, possessing ?a desire to have the world just so?.

  2. How does McEwan tell the story in Chapter 12 of Enduring Love

    In the beginning of the novel, we initially warm to Joe as a narrator. His scientific nature seems to give him an air of objectivity as the reader believes that his deductive and all-seeing attitude to life would improve his reliability as a narrator.

  1. By portraying the three main characters as representations of science, art and religion, McEwan ...

    Instantly, through the use of the repetition of biblical references of ?god? and ?pray? and ?heaven?, we perceive Jed?s reaction to be that of irrationality and unnatural fevour due to the fact that his religious outlook is not adopted by the majority of people and therefore our sympathy for Jed, via from Joe?s perspective is reduced.

  2. What methods does McEwan use to create reader interest in Chapter Four of Enduring ...

    This could imply that what?s in Joe?s head is the closest thing to ?truth?, making the reader trust Joe. There is a central conflict throughout this chapter between scientific facts and human emotions.

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

    for Joe as he is deeply religious and a believer in fate, whilst Joe seems to be a deep thinking scientific person. It all seems too much like a drama and would seem that way for Clarissa (and the reader)

  2. Analyse Jeds changing emotions in chapter 7 and his imprisoning effect on Joe.

    This is key to Jed's character as it shows the inconsistency in Jed's nature. Joe can clearly see this but does not walk away, "his intensity held me for the moment and I had just sufficient curiosity to echo him".

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work