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

At the start of the novel the narrator is represented to the reader as a man who lives in a well-ordered world - Examine the ways in which your responses to this character are shaped throughout the novel.

Extracts from this document...


Enduring Love by Ian McEwan Essay question: At the start of the novel the narrator is represented to the reader as a man who lives in a well-ordered world. Examine the ways in which your responses to this character are shaped throughout the novel. The novel Enduring Love by Ian McEwan is written mainly from the perspective of a first person narrator, Joe Rose, and this means he is in control of the narrative portrayed. McEwan has chosen to tell the narrative in this style of prose to disguise the truth and withhold information from the reader by making us view the unfolding action through the eyes of a narrator. Therefore this technique is compelling the reader to empathise with Joe, to share his emotions and views whilst letters from the viewpoint of other characters hint that his honesty and impartiality as our guide is far from certain. The plot begins with the protagonist Joe describing an incident that is the catalyst for the ensuing events in the novel. McEwan has chosen to write this chapter on the balloon with Joe using hindsight to express his regret because it allows the "catastrophe" to seem more enigmatic and hopeless. ...read more.


Joe also digresses onto subjects such as the origins of man in his story and this shows the reader that he is well educated and intelligent and encourages us to trust him. Therefore when he attempts to exonerate himself from any of the blame by saying he did not let go first, "I cannot accept it was me", we are not suspicious that he may be incorrect. The second chapter helps to show how reliant and utterly devoted he is to science when he refers to God as "some sort of impossible cartoon character" and also refuses to pray when asked by Jed Parry. Although not attempting to be offensive this can be interpreted a sign that he is single minded and somewhat blinkered in his attitude to life. McEwan has chosen to include these scenes to make the reader question the reliability of Joe as the narrator and also to persuade us that Joe is not as likeable a character as first thought. The first phone call from Jed that he later describes as "my first big mistake" reveals that he is somewhat overprotective of Clarissa and also that he is secretive. ...read more.


This event is the effect of the collapse of Joe's well-ordered world although we later learn through the appendixes their relationship does eventually endure. McEwan as we near the end of the novel has gradually encouraged us to dislike Joe and question him even if he is eventually vindicated. This unease is subtly and gradually created throughout the novel but the construct of oppositions is the main method the author has chosen. The placing of main characters with contrasting ideologies such as the religious Jed or the Romantic Clarissa next to each blurs which view is correct. As the novel progresses letters from other character's perspective make us view the description of previous events with cynicism. As all characters especially Joe are utterly consumed by their own views and unwilling to countenance those of others we begin to dislike his narrow-minded views. McEwan shapes the reader's responses and emotions to Joe with great skill. He gradually transforms our empathy and trust for him into dislike and suspicion through the actions and thoughts of Joe. The convictions of the other characters beliefs and his inability to accept that the other viewpoints may hold a semblance of truth makes us doubt his reliability and truthfulness as a narrator and character. Sanjay Odedra ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Ian McEwan essays

  1. Compare Virginia Woolf"s novels Mrs. Dalloway and The Waves as the representatives of her ...

    The only principle which unites the novel together is the theme of passing time. As we have already said, both the novels deal with the time and inconstancy of it. In Mrs. Dalloway we perceive the memories of different people, their present life, the mingling of their lives and their hopes.

  2. What are our impressions of the narrator in the opening section of

    We begin to feel a little more empathy for the narrator when he turns his critical eye upon himself; "By our fatal lack of co-operation." This gives us the impression that however critical he is of Clarissa he feels that the incident is more his fault then hers.

  1. Why And How Does The Introduction Of The Sub-Plot Link With The Novel So Far?

    Joe's suspicions of an attack are aroused by letters from Parry. 'I wanted to hurt you. Perhaps even more than that.' It results in a shooting in a restaurant as Parry decides that if Joe cannot love him then he will not be able to love anyone else.

  2. Explore chapter 1 of Enduring Love and consider what it reveals about Joe as ...

    He is not very comfortable with emotions. When people greet to each other, it seems to him that they are rather like acting than doing it from their hearts. This makes him feel that he has to act in the same way like other people around him.

  1. How does Ian McEwan commit the reader to the rest of the novel in ...

    Joe is constantly reflecting on the incident with precise detail, which represents him to the reader as being accurate and rational. Another four characters are introduced into the novel, as the problematic obstacle does. Joe states two of their full names; this shows his formality and precision.

  2. At the start of the novel the narrator is presented to the reader as ...

    At first glance, he seems to be very self-confident, almost pompous. "I know if I had been uncontested leader the tragedy would not have happened." But if we look closer, we see this isn't the case at all. When describing himself, he says himself to be "balding" and "clumsy".

  1. "At the start of the novel, the narrator is presented to the reader as ...

    Although McEwan makes references to the fact that the novel and the characters are merely constructs he still manages to create a intimacy between the reader and Joe by inviting them into his world thus making the changes that effect Joe have a stronger impact on the reader as they are involved.

  2. In what ways has Cunningham illuminated 'Mrs. Dalloway' in "The Hours"?

    All his dark, complicated people in 'The Hours' are prototypical Woolfian figures blessed and troubled with the same excited imaginations, confusing doubts, regrets, and unforgettable memories of their younger and indeed more hopeful selves. Virginia Woolf used interior monologue and has precisely coordinated the stream of Clarissa's thoughts, her memories

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