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Discussing the character of Charles Darke

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Introduction

Charles Darke Charles Darke is a character of huge importance in the novel because he embodies so many of the novels themes and is key to Stephen's recovery after his loss of Kate and future journey. Events involving Charles Darke are not only significant to the plot but also teach the reader a lot about the movement of time and the confusion and issues surrounding childhood. The readers introduction to Darke shows him as a successful man in his publishing firm who has managed to acquire respect and power ("New York and Frankfurt were on the line") however as the introduction continues the reader begins to see that under the surface he has a more childish side to him as he relishes receiving attention: "making expansive remarks to a young writer was one of the more desirable perquisites to his profession". Even before his breakdown his youthful nature is evident for example choosing his political career is described as a "parlour game". Darke is one of the characters that McEwan uses to present the major theme of childhood and adulthood, there is a constant conflict present within Darke of being a child and of being an adult. ...read more.

Middle

The novel was written during the Thatcherite era of the 80's and this is clearly reflected in the tone of the book and McEwan's opposition to this right-wing rule. Stephen Lewis is cynical about the Conservative views that Darke has decided to take on and the short, abrupt syntax that McEwan uses emphasizes his suspicions of the government in power. It is a cruel irony that, like the Beggar Girl, Charles' eventual death is a result of his political career and the harsh culture surrounding him. Different opinions can be taken on what Darke's specific role is within the novel. He clearly is important for McEwan to carve in the political aspect of the novel and McEwan's own political views however his regression back into childhood carries a much more complicated message. The title of the book "The Child in Time" at first may seem to describe simply Stephen's loss of Kate however one can go much deeper and find that perhaps what McEwan is trying to show the reader is Stephen and Darke's search for their own child in time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Darke's relationship with Thelma can also be contrasted with Stephen's relationship with Julie. As the novel progresses Thelma becomes more and more of a mother figure to Darke and her older age implies that it has never been a marriage of passion and deep love but one of a mutual understanding, acceptance and care. In contrast to Darke's seemingly sexless marriage Julie and Stephen have a much more real and natural relationship where there high points and low points are kept private and by the end their genuine love for one another is clear. Darke offers McEwan the means to show the reader his themes of time, childhood and politics but he also has deeper significance. Darke shows the reader how childhood, or the lack of it, effects ones whole life and how reaching adulthood is a continuous process that may never end. The search for "The Child in Time" by Darke is an emotional and metaphorical journey that eventually liberates him from the stresses and pressures of his hectic work life even if it does ultimately cause his death. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jenn Beales The Child in Time ...read more.

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