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How does Ian McEwan use narrative expectation in chapter one of Enduring Love?

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Introduction

How does Ian McEwan use narrative expectation in chapter one of Enduring Love? McEwan manages to keep the reader interested in the novel from the start, the build up to the story is intriguing. He uses short sentences that make statements about the situation Joe and Clarissa are about to face but it is not explained. Joe refers to 'the danger' but the reader is not given any indication as to what it could be. Joe goes on to say he 'was running towards it', again the reader does not know what 'it' is and so is drawn into the book to find out. The reader is made aware that something big is going to happen, that Joe and Clarissa will be taken 'away from' their 'happiness'. The idea that Joe is 'racing into this story and its labyrinths' gives an ominous impression, the way ahead for the will be complicated, they could get lost and be in danger. This is indeed true as the story develops beginning with the tragic accident involving the balloon and its after effects. McEwan also drifts in and out of times so that the reader never quite gets the answer before a new situation is introduced, it is as if the narrator, Joe, is loosing his line of thought. ...read more.

Middle

most complicated simpleton' while she laughs when she says it and probably means it as a term on endearment it could still be taken as in insult. This is the first impression given of Clarissa, while Joe builds her up to be the most perfect woman in the world with 'warmth and tranquillity in her voice' her first words are quite harsh. This shows an immediate difference between the pair, Joe looks up to Clarissa he almost worships. It would be expected the first thing she says to be something reflecting Joe's own thoughts but instead she puts him down. This feeling about the relationship they have is carried on throughout the novel, especially in chapter nine. Joe is deeply troubled by the torment from Jed and instead of allowing him to confide in her Clarissa is more interested in her own day. The theme of love is introduced, Clarissa and Joe are both in love but they may not share the same views on it. This idea is repeated in the story, between both Clarissa and Joe and also Joe and Jed. Clarissa finds her ideal love in Keats' love letters she believes 'love that did not find its expression in a letter was not perfect' this shows her interest in romance. ...read more.

Conclusion

Joe shows his admiration for John Logan, the final man left holding the air balloon. He describes him as 'husband, father, doctor and mountain rescue worker' these are good qualities he has a family life and a career in science, someone Joe would probably look up to. Logan is fighting to save the boy his 'flame of altruism must have burned a little stronger' the way John Logan managed to hang on makes Joe respect him but also feel guilty. The description of John Logan falling from the balloon resolves the readers question as to what the tragedy was, however questions still remain unanswered. The reader wants to know what happened to the boy, and why this tragic event affects Joe so much. By the end of the chapter Joe's reflective personality is put across to the reader, he has described the event in much detail and is obviously troubled by it McEwan has also managed to build up the background for the rest of the story and 'its labyrinths'. The first chapter has also introduced the important themes of love, Keats, science, religion and children. Laura Brown 12GW ...read more.

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