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By what means does McEwan simultaneously present Jed as a menacing character and introduce doubts into the reader's mind about the danger Jed apparently represents?

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By what means does McEwan simultaneously present Jed as a menacing character and introduce doubts into the reader's mind about the danger Jed apparently represents? McEwan uses a number of literary devices to present Jed's character. Probably the single most important one is his use of a first person narrator, Joe. The author invites us to consider whether Joe, and his perception of Jed, can be relied on. Through Joe's account of Jed and his behavior, we learn that Jed is a menacing character. The first incident that shows this is in the aftershock of the balloon incident. When there is a brief encounter between Jed Parry and Joe, when Parry wants them to pray, but Joe thinks little of it at this point but to the reader this seems strange. Especially when Jed says, "God has brought us together" and persistently insists that Joe pray with him. Joe describes Jed's behavior from hindsight and at the time Jed seemed excited, but no-one could have guessed to what extend and certainly not Joe at this point although Joe does notice that Parry seems rather odd, as he tells us "Even then, he was more interested in me". ...read more.


This incident really defines Jed's character as menacing and possibly dangerous. The way McEwan introduces doubts into the readers mind about the danger Jed apparently represents is by having an unreliable narrator in Joe. The reader is only reading Joe's viewpoint, which is slightly limited because we then do not know what Clarissa and Jed really feel and think. Joe's unreliability also defines Jed's character in an objective way. As the reader Joe's account of events they get to learn a lot about the way he thinks and feels. Therefore, they soon know that Joe is a rationalist and this can put doubts in the readers mind that Joe is reliable. As for example when he is recalling the balloon incident because he is rational he maybe taking things too seriously and. In addition, when Joe thinks Jed is watching him in the library because he sees the white trainers with red laces as he did on Jed at the balloon incident. He may be unreliable because he feels unease even before, and when, he thinks he sees Jed, which maybe incorporated because what happened the day before and his feelings of guilt or because of fear of Jed after the phone call. ...read more.


"I already know a lot about your life. I've made it my job. My mission." Jed tells us in his letter showing the reader that he is completely obsessed with Joe in an unhealthy way. This obsession does pose a danger because at the moment nobody knows how far he will take it. From Jed's letter the reader can tell that Jed thinks he is in love, although these feelings are directed through powerful religious believes. In conclusion, the means McEwan uses to present Jed as a menacing character are an perhaps unreliable narrator giving his account of what Jed says, does, Jed's behavior and Joe's own personal views and feelings about Jed. Which successfully build up Jed's menacing character by making each incident more weird and scary so that Jed seems to become more dangerous as his obsession grows. Also, by using Joe's reactions to Jed's behavior and to Jed's letter. And by using Jed's' letter to broaden our viewpoint and let us see what Jed is really thinking and if he really represents the danger Joe apparently think he does, which confirms Joe's account. ...read more.

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