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

Many people believe that when reading a book written in first person narrative, it is an unreliable source. - Enduring Love by Ian McEwen

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Many people believe that when reading a book written in first person narrative, it is an unreliable source. This is because it is a biased account, as the narrator will only tell his or her own side of the story. This is partly true of the novel "Enduring Love" by Ian McEwen. The narrator is Joe. Although he seems to be very controlled and sensible, it is clear from reading the first five chapters of the book, that he is not quite as controlled as first perceived. He has a very scientific brain and thinks about everything rationally but as the chapters progress, he begins to lose the clarity with which he first began. This can give the reader a feeling of uncertainty of the reliability of his narrative. Chapter one begins with such detail that it is impossible to believe that what was being described actually took place in the past. Joe describes everything with pinpoint precision and it is hard to imagine how he managed to remember everything with such accuracy. To reinforce the events he shifts the perspective of the narrator to that of a buzzard. ...read more.

Middle

He either becomes an all-seeing, all-knowing narrator, or a present-time narrator. This adds uncertainty about the reliability of the narrator, as it is clear that in some parts of the novel, he wants to make the reader anticipate the events and have a false sense of security about the novel's outcome; the reader is led to believe that they know what is going to happen. If one takes interest in reading the reviews on the first pages of the novel, one could get an impression of what the book is about. "...a stalker and his unfortunate victim." This tells the reader the basic outline of the novel and therefore, the reader will be looking for the character who will play the two main parts, stalker, and victim. Throughout the first few chapters, all the main events point to Joe being the stalker and Jed the victim. One could imagine that this was in fact Joe's intention. He wanted the reader to see it this way, which would explain some of his obscure references to his and Jed's relationship. When describing Jed's appearance, Joe says, "..tall and lean...looked fit...box-fresh trainers...his knuckles brushing against his leather belt were big and tight-knobbed...look of a pale Indian brave...his appearance was striking..." ...read more.

Conclusion

One begins to come up with other suggestions; Joe is obsessed with Jed? One could also see this as something that Joe has imagined. This is Clarissa's opinion through most of the novel, and could be true. The reader does not trust Joe's account of the events completely anyway, and it would be quite easy for he/she to think that Joe is in fact not talking about events that actually took place in real life, but ones that took place in his mind. This yet again puts an edge in the readers mind about the reliability of the narration. In terms of the novel "Enduring Love," my opinion is that within the first five chapters of the novel, the narrator is unreliable. I personally think that when one has finished the novel, it is possible to believe Joe and I think that it is Joe's intention to make the reader feel that he is unreliable. This gives Joe room to give information if and when he chooses instead of giving it at the perhaps, appropriate moments. It also means that Joe can skip from place to place within the story, not going in chronological order as expected. For these reasons, I feel that it is possible for narrators to be perceived as unreliable, but in some instances, that is in fact their intent. ...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. Enduring love analysing chapter 1.

    I've never seen such a terrible thing as that falling man.' The comparison of a man to a falling stick in my mind is a very sickening image and a very harsh comment by the narrator. The sentence lengths in chapter 1 vary.

  2. Time is a major theme in Ian McEwan's 'The Child In Time'.

    Stephen's and Claire's experiences are too close to be coincidence, and this gives us evidence that time did play tricks, and has more than one layer. Back at the flat, he receives an invitation from Thelma asking him to come and see her.

  1. Enduring Love - by Ian McKewen - Discuss the changing relationship between Clarissa and ...

    Joe sounds a little crazy and irrational to Clarissa. One of the reasons Clarissa chose Jed as a partner was because of his rationalness and cool head. Her father had died when she was a child of Alzheimer's and she always feared being with someone who went crazy.

  2. McEwan, 'Enduring Love' - What does the novel have to say about love?

    Joe understands this, as he shows in Chapter fourteen when he remembers the story of the French woman who became obsessed with King George the Fifth. However, this does not mean he is prepared to accept the situation. He is aware that in many situations de Cl�rambault's patients may become violent when their "love" is persistently unrequited.

  1. "McEwan uses a variety of writing genre in the novel 'Enduring Love'. This mix ...

    Sex is quite a major feature of this: - "She caressed my balls...kissed my belly...we'll have to love each other even harder." This rather graphic description of their love shows how intimacy is very important to them. It shows their love as being very intense.

  2. Looking At The First Ten Chapters, Discuss What You Find Interesting In The Way ...

    Firstly, by McEwan presenting Parry as a character who wants and needs some form of meaning in his life after his experience with the death at the beginning of the book is a metaphor for the character of Jo in the sense that he is also looking for the same

  1. Explore in detail the presentation of the characters of Joe (the narrator) and Clarissa ...

    In chapter one we learn that a balloon crashes in to a field, and it is going to affect Jo and Clarissa's life. The opening line of the novel is "the beginning is simple to mark" this shows that this significant part of the story and can easily be remembered.

  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.

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