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What is the importance of Joe's visit to Oxford in chapters 13 and 14?

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Introduction

What is the importance of Joe's visit to Oxford in chapters 13 and 14? In chapter's thirteen and fourteen of the novel, Joe's visit to Oxford to visit Mrs Logan, widow of John Logan is of great significance to the story as a whole. It introduces different ideas to the main plot and provides an interruption to the key subject at that stage; the Joe and Jed situation. It also gives an insight into John Logan's life before he died and his background. The main themes in the novel are also highlighted in these chapters, including the idea of forgiveness, morality and trust. The most obvious reasoning for McEwan including Joe's visit to Jean Logan is to provide the background of John's character to the novel. The event introduces the reader to John's life before his death at the balloon accident, 'Partly obscured by shrubbery was a tent, a brown igloo-style tent on a patch of law', which indicates to the reader he had children. ...read more.

Middle

McEwan also uses irony to display Jeans bitterness when she sarcastically tells Joe of what the police officer told her 'A crime! There hadn't been a crime', where obviously in her eyes there had been a crime; of adultery. However at this point Joe does not comprehend the meaning of her sarcasm. McEwan's use of language also introduces a simile using pathetic fallacy to reflect Jean's mood from Joe's perspective, 'like a lone Arctic Explorer', this allows Joe to portray what he believes is Jean's pitiful state of mind at the time, and to reflect her grief through the language used. There is a great build-up to when Jean actually tells Joe of her suspicions; 'He was going to have a picnic with her' which makes the revelation much more dramatic when it finally happens. ...read more.

Conclusion

However the most significant of all ideas to McEwans use of Joe's visit to Oxford is perhaps to highlight some of the main themes of the novel. John Logan's children are of great importance in terms of exhibiting the idea morality. One of the best examples of this is their questioning of whether it is right or wrong to eat horses; 'But if something's wrong, I don't see why crossing the channel should make it right' which demonstrates the importance of innocence in children. This event also enables the reader to reflect on morals in connection with Joe and the initial accident with the balloon where he questioned himself concerning whether he should have continued holding on to the rope. Not only do the children highlight the issue of morality but also the ongoing idea of Clarissa being unable to have children of her own. ...read more.

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