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enduring love opening chapter

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Commentary on an extract from chapter 1 of Enduring Love by Ian McEwan The following is a commentary of an extract from chapter 1 of Ian McEwan's novel Enduring Love. First published in Great Britain in 1997, the novel is an exceptionally moving piece of drama and suspense which narrates how Jed's obsession could test to the limits Joe's scientific rationalism, threaten his love with Clarissa and drive him to the brink of murder and madness. The extract is taken from the beginning of chapter 1 when Joe experiences the balloon accident and has the strange incident with Jed Parry which will initiate the mass hysteria that forms the main storyline of the play. In this extract the main characters are introduced, Joe, Clarissa and Jed, together with the major themes of love and obsession. In addition to these purposes of introducing theme and developing characters, McEwan's purpose here is also to create tension that keeps the audience "on the edge of their seats". ...read more.


Bathed in sunlight under a turkey oak, "partly protected from a strong gusty wind", the relationship between the two is yet to be revealed, but McEwan's use of the phrase "partly protected", seems to imply that these two people have been protected from such horrors until this moment. Therefore, Joe's narrative is plagued with phrases that suggest disaster and that the events of this chapter will have huge consequences and they will be life changing; "What idiocy, to be racing into this story and its labyrinths, springing away from our happiness among the fresh spring grasses by the oak". McEwan's use of imagery and figurative language in this extract encapsulates the main themes and ideas of the novel. On simplistic level imagery helps the reader visualise the setting and scenery clearly, which has the effect of drawing us in and making us feel as though as we are there, for example a strong picture is painted before the cry is heard, the reader can almost taste the air, and feel the "cool neck" of the 1987 Doumas Gassac as they themselves clutch the corkscrew. ...read more.


The author uses short sentences in places to create excitement and to get the adrenaline of the reader pumping, which makes turning the next page irresistible, "I was running towards it. The transformation was absolute". A further significant aspect of this extract is the strong tone and atmosphere that develops throughout. The idea of catastrophe is always present throughout the opening chapter as it is used to create excitement in the reader and to fuel the craving of needing more information. Nonetheless, there are also many other unknowns such as the "relationship" between Joe and Jed, which develops through the balloon accident, which is described by Joe as "Rushing towards each other like lovers", and establish an obsessive tone since Joe seems to be focusing on Jed; "The encounter that would unhinge us"; and still there is no apparent reason as to why that is. On the whole, all these points contribute towards creating a stimulating and addictive opening chapter. The main stimulant being, the need for more information.. ?? ?? ?? ?? Juan Ignacio Riserbo 1 ...read more.

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