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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐What view would a feminist critic take on Enduring Love written by Ian McEwan? ?Enduring Love? encompasses the key message that the contrasting ideologies of science and emotion, cannot compliment each other, but in turn serve parallel meta-narratives, as expressed through the actions of Joe and Clarissa. McEwan directs the reader to believe in Joe?s rationality, where in Appendix One his assumptions are proved right. This creates the stereotypical view, that any positive outcome is led by a man and his rational decisions, thus leaving women in the background without a role to play but express their emotions, as is the case with Joe and Clarissa?s relationship. This is opposed by feminists such as Kate Millet who recognised the imbalance of the distribution of power between men and women and ?saw very clearly that the widespread negative stereotyping of women...constituted a formidable obstacle on the road to true equality.? McEwan formed the novel on the basis of his ?interest in science,? whilst he wanted to oppose the ?sense that rationality gets a 'bad press' in literature,? as he states ?there are many situations in life? in which it does no harm?to try and think rationally? thus his key message begins to evolve. ...read more.

Middle

Chapter 13 has evidence of realism, where Jean?s ?hair was greasy and pulled back harshly across her scalp.? This description from Joe?s narrative presents Jean as an ?eternally dissatisfied shrew? another common depiction of women. As readers we notice that Joe is only focusing on Jean?s physical appearance and is perhaps subconsciously implying that women?s appearance to men is far more important than their personality or qualifications in life, hence belittling women and their role in society. The description also makes Joe seem condescending and judgemental in his unemotional conduct towards Jean who is ?grieving?. This now presents Joe in an ill manner and he begins to lose his power on the readers, as they start to view him a different light. Peter Childs also agrees with this as he states ?Joe?s narration does at times imply he has difficulty with empathy and his observations on the emotions of others can seem callous.? Instead Joe ?becomes the surrogate object of her bitterness? as well as the readers due to his detached and rational character. This leads to a role reversal where Jean ? a woman, holds the power and ?was having to lead me by the hand?. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that ?Clarissa is unable to bear a child? detracts from her femininity and perhaps reduces her role in the narrative. It could be depicted in a positive light, as she is still able to lead a successful life without bearing children. In contrast, the fact Clarissa is unable to conceive means she cares for her nieces and others even more, showing women are caring and compassionate. In conclusion, Enduring Love provides a narrative under threat from feminist critique. But, by the end of the novel, Clarissa is able to prove she is independent and doesn?t live behind Joe, as she writes a letter in chapter twenty-three from her own perspective. She expresses her thoughts and feelings as she writes to Joe, ?you became more agitated...you were manic.? This initially seems positive; however she is unable to express these thoughts to him verbally, backing up Lacan and Childs who said women used non-verbal communication and that men are the holders of speech. The novel ends with the focus once again on the imbalance of the distribution of power between men and women, concluding that McEwan is seemingly misogynistic through his representation of women in the novel. Word count: 2017 ...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. Marked by a teacher

    An essay that examines whether Briony ever achieves atonement in 'Atonement' by Ian McEwan

    3 star(s)

    When she visits her sister's flat, Briony admits that she is shocked to be accused of lying to get Robbie convicted. Even now, she clings to her younger self's belief in the fantasies she concocted as some kind of justification for accusing Robbie, despite him pointing out that she failed

  2. Peer reviewed

    English Literature - Atonement (Essay 2)

    4 star(s)

    the 1930s; any excuse to arrest a 'lowlife' was a worthy one - Robbie's condemnation being orchestrated from above; not by Briony. Overall, then, Atonement offers us thematic, elemental 'heroes' and 'villains' rather than embodied ones. Briony, despite being a focal point of 'villainous' behaviour, is concurrently a victim because of the attributes she herself has been burdened with.

  1. Peer reviewed

    English Literature - Atonement (Essay 1)

    3 star(s)

    Robbie's direct question "what's made you so certain now?"22 is answered by Briony with "growing up"23, McEwan's use of a succinct response effectively depicting Briony's feeling of urgency and apprehension, "a child anticipating a beating"24. Briony is vulnerable; the longevity of time hasn't protected her from being reprimanded.

  2. Judging Lines Between Reality and Imagination in Atonement by Ian McEwan

    Briony's opinions as a young girl were very frustrating for me to read. As a whole, Atonement was frustrating to read. Its only redeeming characteristic was that Robbie and Cecilia ended up together. While reading I definitely lost sight of Briony's predicament being real.

  1. Enduring Love gracefully bridges genres; it(TM)s a psychological thriller, a meditation on the narrative ...

    Romance genre typically focuses on a couple and much of the narrative is about what the characters are thinking or feeling. Joe is constantly making references to what Clarissa is doing even when they are not conversing or doing something together. This shows his awareness, and therefore attachment, to Clarissa.

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

    chapter when he states that he ?cared less by the second that I was behaving badly?. This is the beginning of Joe?s transition from rational scientist to unstable man. Later, McEwan divulges a little into Joe and Clarissa?s relationships, and shows the reader that cracks are beginning to emerge.

  1. Some readers feel that the most compelling aspect of "Enduring Love" is Jed and ...

    Their relationship is completely unanticipated by the reader: "What did he mean when he said he felt it too?" And despite being shown the strength of Clarissa and Joe's relationship, we are more anxious to read on about the evolution of their supposed 'love affair', and how Clarissa and Joe's

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

    This conflict arises between the two main protagonists in the novel, between Science and Art, between Joe and Clarissa. Joe is a man of Science who has inherited an overriding need to establish facts and rational thought. His use of language further reflects this.

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