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Explore the waysin which McEwan presents obsession in Enduring Love

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Explore the ways in which McEwan presents obsession in Enduring Love The theme of obsession is found in many different forms in Enduring Love. McEwan uses language and the presentation of the characters to explore the many different types of obsession. The most obvious obsession in the novel is Jed's obsession with Joe. As a reader, we find this perhaps the most disturbing because of the intensity with which it is presented. At the opening of the novel, immediately after the accident, Joe walks down the hill to inspect Logan's body and is closely followed by Jed. McEwan uses language to great effect to convey Jed's obsession with religion and Jed's dialogue to show his eagerness to pray. 'I mean you don't have to believe in anything at all, just let yourself do it and I promise you, I promise.' The use of repetition and the word 'promise' shows Jed pleading with Joe and expresses his sincere beliefs. There is also a strangeness as Joe decides to tell Parry the harsh truth of his religion 'There's no one up there' 'Parry's head was cocked, and the most joyous of smiles was spreading across his face.' ...read more.


McEwan also presents Jed's obsession through the use of letters. These act rather like a soliloquy would and we are able to see the character of Jed without Joe's perception as the narrator. The letters are perhaps the most disturbing part of the obsession as McEwan reveals Jed's raw emotion. 'Joe, Joe, Joe....I'll confess, I covered five sheets of paper with your name.' The use of repetition emphasises Joe as the subject of Jed's obsession and the action of writing his name over sheet of paper is a sign of immaturity. 'Does it horrify that I can see through you so easily?' A rhetorical question appeals directly to the reader as we see events through Joe's eyes and reveal an insidious side to Jed's character. Jed's obsession with Joe prompts another fixation to arise; Joe's obsession with Jed. McEwan presents this through Clarissa and other minor characters in the novel. Clarissa has serious doubts concerning the veracity of Joe's paranoia. McEwan uses short simple statements from Clarissa to cast doubts in our minds about Joe. ...read more.


Joe's love of science and rationalising is more evident in the novel as he is the narrator. Descriptions are made using very analytical and scientific vocabulary and Joe relates everyday situations back to science. 'The ice bucket sat within a rhombus of sunlight' McEwan chooses to describe the light as a 'rhombus' as it highlights Joe's mathematical side. 'Two bands were entwined in a double helix'.......to suggest the twenty amino acids on to which the three letter codons were mapped' McEwan uses the brooch as an object to draw out Joe's analytical characteristics through the word 'double helix' and displays his knowledge of science. The theme of obsession is vital to the novel as a whole and permeates every aspect of the narrative. The obsession is used to invoke a response from the reader, particularly in the case of Jed and Joe as we feel repulsed and disturbed by Jed's language and feelings. We are also as readers, directly affected by Joe's love of science. It is evident throughout the novel since often Joe tries to rationalise his problems by making links to science. Finally, it is Jed's passion for religion that he justifies his obsession and Joe who fuels it. ...read more.

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