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The story focuses on the difference between rational, scientific thought and Romantic, religious thought. Explain and Comment.

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The story focuses on the difference between rational, scientific thought and Romantic, religious thought. Explain and Comment. From the initial stages of Enduring Love, McEwan explores the theme of thought and its different processes; Rational, Scientific, Romantic and Religious. Using his characters McEwan leads the reader to sympathize with each character in the novel and gain a form of insight into how each character thinks and develops throughout the narrative. From the very beginning it is apparent which characters depict which process of thought. The three main characters introduced within the opening chapter; Joe, Clarissa and Jed Parry can be split clearly into separate groups. Joe is the rational scientist: "I was the world's most complicated simpleton". Clarissa is the romantic: "Clarissa thought that her emotions were the appropriate guide" and Parry is the religious fanatic: "God has brought us together in this tragedy." McEwan explores these types of personality throughout the text and develops them further with each event that occurs. The opening chapter of the novel is arguably the most important chapter of the book. McEwan initiates the novel through the voice of its narrator, Joe: "The beginning is simple to mark." This opening sentence has been interpreted in many ways by academics. Not only does it offer an insight and flavour of the novels narrator and his rationality but it has been put forth that this line also alludes to the opening pages of the Old Testament: 'In the beginning.' ...read more.


McEwan is suddenly using Clarissa as the rational thinker. This kind of behaviour, however, is almost stereotypical of Clarissa who seems somewhat unpredictable, mirroring Joe in the later stages of the book. McEwan furthers the reversal of gender within modern society when looking at Joe and Clarissa's relationship. Clarissa states that she chose Joe to be with because of his rationality. "Rational Joe" This I feel is an interesting point. Once again it illustrates a power shift between genders common now in modern society. Clarissa is the one who chose her partner. From the opening chapters McEwan uses Joe's rationale to set a benchmark of trust between the reader and the text's narrator. Joe is in complete control of the story and determines not only the information the reader is given but also how quickly and when and clearly states this within the text. Witness for instance the opening line of the second chapter: "Best to slow down." In this first paragraph of the second chapter McEwan begins to show the reader how scientific Joe's process of thought is. The use of language within his description is almost odd at times. "so much branching and subdivision" And "The best description of a reality does not need to mimic its velocity." Joe's use of language almost gives him aloofness despite his apparent insecurities about his appearance and failure to succeed in his profession as much as he'd hoped. ...read more.


"To her I was manic, perversely obsessed." Jed's continual bombardments of religious and affectionate messages culminate in His taking Clarissa hostage. In this vital chapter we see all the characters throughout the novel peak. Joe's almost comical trip to the Hippy house to purchase a gun illustrates his final breakdown of rational thinking. Jed's taking Clarissa hostage highlights that his religious and affectionate beliefs have finally become extreme and Clarissa's Romanticism almost go with the flow attitude is tested to limit with the show down of Parry and Joe. In conclusion McEwan uses each character as a device in order to explore the differences in thought processes prevalent within society. He explores how they can all be tested and the effect that if compounded by each other the outcomes that can occur. Somehow he seems to make Parry a believable, albeit somewhat bizarre character work within this novel in order to carry the plot forward. The interplay between Joe, the rational and scientific thinker and a Jed, the fanatically religious and Love obsessed 'Jesus freak' works to an extent where Clarissa the Romantic can still be viewed in her own separate way. Enduring Love manages to deal with the differences in thought in a strange but compelling way and the subtle scientific, Romantic and religious hints that are displayed by each character, even in small pieces of speech, help to make the book wholly more convincing and satisfying. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kim Goddard Enduring Love Sue Bailey English Access ...read more.

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