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AS and A Level: Ian McEwan

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 2
  • Peer Reviewed essays 5
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  1. Although the Sexual Act May seem Private & Personal, in this novel, McEwan shows it is anything but. Discuss.

    " '...Like Mozart at the Wigmore Hall' She stopped abruptly. She had not meant to talk her musical ambitions, she believed it was a mistake". This shows that, whilst talking about having a sex - free, but open marriage, Florence cannot help but change the subject to her musical talent, because she feels awkward talking about such a thing. McEwan does this to show the difficulty of communication, especially at the beginning of the sixties, by contrasting the very modern idea of non-marital sex ('free love') with very old, classical music.

    • Word count: 941
  2. Discuss the usefulness of Dover beach as a key to understanding McEwans aims in Saturday

    References to the past ("Sophocles long ago/Heard it on the �g�an") imply that Arnold feel that this 'eternal note of sadness' has been a long time coming. The overall tone of the poem is similar to that of W. H. Auden's "September 1, 1939": it offers hope to the reader, the possibility of salvation, but it is awash with negativity at the state of affairs, and uncertain about the future of the world. These ideas resonate strongly throughout 'Saturday'. The final scene of the novel shows Perowne staring contemplatively from his window, "timid" and "vulnerable", and then retreating to the

    • Word count: 772
  3. In this passage of Saturday, McEwan employs techniques which are the hallmarks of his prose. Closer examination of this short passage allows for greater understanding of his writing style.

    This partnership between Perowne consciousness and the omniscient narrator is the way in which McEwan presents Perowne's views. The omniscient narrator picks up on external details with relative objectivity, and these observations are then tempered by Perowne's viewpoint. His views on the world are revealed through his interactions throughout the day, with these interactions being described by the narrator. In this way, this section of the novel is less focused on the plot. Instead, it is a collection of Perowne's thoughts, which allow the reader to develop a clearer profile of Perowne's character.

    • Word count: 904
  4. Enduring Love: Chapter 12

    We see a mind filled with anxiety and paranoia as Joe begins to relive the morning in retrospect. McEwan divulges into Joe and Clarissa's relationship where cracks seem evident. Joe speaking in first person says 'she seemed to agree', 'seemed because she was not quite whole-hearted'. The repetition of 'seemed' emphasises this uncertainty and their disconnected relationship. Joe is fast to make assumptions without any indication from Clarissa. Joe harbours doubt and Clarissa returns this doubt as she makes a suspicious statement against Joe that 'His [Parrys] writing's rather like yours.' And when Joe attempts to build his argument, Clarissa responses with a less than enthusiastic response: 'Yes'.

    • Word count: 951
  5. Free essay

    How does McEwan use dialogue and other stylistic techniques to show the attitude of other characters to Joes relationship with Jed?

    This attitude is continued with "his tiny grey eyes brushed past mine". It shows us how Linley is not interested in engaging with Joe. Also the use of interrogatives in places shows us the further detachment from the subject. He uses these to pull from Joe the relevant information, such as "How did you meet?" Questions like this are fired at Joe constantly, showing how Linley is used to questioning people like this and is disinterested in the answers given. The sentence "You're being harassed and threatened by this character" put forward by Linley portrays his attitude.

    • Word count: 544
  6. Representation of speech

    We know from these words, that Jed is going to become obsessed with Joe further in the novel, and we can see Joe's reaction towards this. At the beginning of the conversation in chapter two, Jed approaches Joe asking him "are you alright?" an immediate attempt at controlling the conversation. Joe does not reply to Jed showing the disinterest Joe has in engaging in conversation with Jed. "My silence was hostile". It becomes apparent as you read, that Joe is the less confident speaker, even though he seems to be the most educated shown through the use of first person narrative, which gives an insight into his analytical and rational mind.

    • Word count: 661
  7. Enduring love

    Giving the reader specific details, 'turkey oak', he is very observative of his surroundings. The genre of this novel from the beginning seems like a thriller, the way it is building up to discuss an event, 'this was the pinprick on the time map'. Yet, has elements of romance within him and his wife, 'the ways our love was different from and superior to any that had ever existed'.

    • Word count: 526
  8. How does Ian McEwan engage the interest of the reader in Chapter 1 of Enduring Love?

    When we read of the "child's cry" our sympathy is provoked, certainly more with a "man's shout" alone, and from this point we are completely hooked to the book, concerned of the consequences of the accident on both the child and man. In addition to this, although the ballooning accident itself engages our interest, the structural manner in which the story is told also plays a huge role; rather than disclosing what the "danger" was from the start McEwan gradually reveals it by shifting to events both before and after the accident.

    • Word count: 974
  9. Examine the relationship between Jed and Joe as it develops through the course of the novel.

    With retrospect, Joe claims it is now "odd to evoke the figure of Jed..." which confirms that from his first meeting an uneasiness had already developed in his mind and that the relationship between him and Jed was one doomed to failure. The extent of Jed's delusional belief in a romantic relationship existing between himself and Joe is fully established at the very end of chapter three - structurally placed at the end to give the most emphasis. Jed calls Joe at 2AM in the morning and says "I just wanted you to know, I understand what you're feeling.

    • Word count: 899
  10. Does Ian McEwan succeed in creating rounded, plausible characters in the novel Enduring Love?

    This is one of McEwan's best reviews from the BBC yet for the film adaptation. McEwan introduces the narrator Joe, as a rational, scientific mind who appears to be a rather simplistic character representing a stereotypical science geek. However, as the novel unfolds, we see signs of paranoia and irrational behaviour coming from Joe, suggesting he is more rounded and has different sides to his personality that slowly become apparent when reading Enduring Love. I find Joe to be a plausible character from beginning to end, however towards the end when he begins to severely break down, it seems almost over the top and not plausible.

    • Word count: 810
  11. Analysing an Extract From "Enduring Love" by Ian McEwan

    All of these segments of the opening will eventually leave out who this man actually is, what the "danger" actually is and therefore, what he's running to. McEwan uses repetition in the extract in order to illustrate a sense of mystery and re-enforce the importance of this particular moment to the reader. In the first line McEwan shows the reader that "this was the moment; this was the pinprick on the time map." This phrase makes the reader feel as if something important and significant is about to happen.

    • Word count: 936
  12. 'Enduring Love' McEwan First chapter anlaysis essay 'Enduring Love' opens with the narrator reflecting back on what is referred to as "the beginning

    McEwan almost teases the reader, requiring them to read on. By page 3, when McEwan uses the word "catastrophe", we know that some kind of tragic event is imminent over which we have no control - it starts to feel like a bad dream. The author/narrator then goes on to build up the suspense and tension over the next 14 pages.

    • Word count: 576
  13. Review of 'The comfort of strangers by Ian McEwan'

    Roger's shady character and his weird story about how his father was very strict and how his jealous sisters made him eat chocolate so that he would get into trouble with his father along with other things should have kept Mary and Colin away. Stories like this one, which require the reader to suspend disbelief as the actors venture further and further into the abyss are extremely hard to pull off, so it's not surprising that McEwan doesn't quite manage it.

    • Word count: 622
  14. How effective is Chapter One of

    McEwan uses many writing techniques that all contribute towards the effectiveness of the opening chapter. The use of great suspense and nail biting tension are used right from the very beginning of the novel, in the first line, "The beginning is simple to mark," which leads you question he use of 'The beginning' and intrigues you to read on. The beginning of what exactly? This short sentence technique is used to draw the reader in and leaves you curiously wanting to read more, by only giving select and vague detail. McEwan also creates much tension in the premiere chapter, "partly protected from a strong, gusty wind," which describes the wind as being an unpredictable, natural force which together conveys a sense of urgency.

    • Word count: 855
  15. Enduring Love-How is the first chapter effective?

    The narrator, who we later find out to be named Joe, withholds important facts and information from the start of the chapter to create apprehension and will power towards readers to carry on reading, and to discover those missed out significant facts "The encounter that would unhinge us was minutes away" is a prime example of such narration. "This was the last time that I understood anything clearly at all" is another form of tension as readers get the impression that what is about to happen next is life changing and feel the urge to, again, continue reading.

    • Word count: 975
  16. Compare two passages of your choice explaining what they reveal of McEwen's reoccurring themes and concerns?

    Both novels talk about a troubled relationship between a couple within the first couple of paragraphs. In 'The Comfort of Strangers' the reader is told 'Colin and Mary are not on speaking terms' This is evidence that there is trouble in the relationship. We have evidence that troubled relationships are a common theme in McEwen's writing because in 'The Black Dogs' the readers are told about 'the disintegrating marriage of my sister Jean to a man called Harper'. Other examples from other books include the break up of Joe and Clarissa in Enduring Love. In the Comfort of Strangers we have a few quotes that link with the title of the novel.

    • Word count: 954
  17. Consider the ways in which The author creates suspense in the Opening chapters of the novel - Enduring Love.

    As the story progresses it becomes clear that Joe can be manipulative in the way he does explain things. McEwan intentionally places certain phrases throughout the opening that capture the reader that makes them continue reading. The first example is, "The beginning is simple to mark," which is short and basic, and allows the reader to imagine what is going to happen next. The reader is curious to find out how the rest of the story is going to develop after the gripping first chapter. A second example is, "...we heard a man's shout...and saw the danger. Next thing, I was running towards it," and "...- the event I am about to describe, the fall-..."

    • Word count: 739
  18. What do you find interesting and distinctive about the opening chapter of "Enduring Love?"

    MacEwan makes the story life-like by being able to inform us of Joe's thought-processes, interrupting the main point Joe is trying to make with past happenings, as maybe we would when telling someone about an incident or event. This narrative approach therefore makes him able to use flashback to extreme affect, giving MacEwan the chance to create nail-biting suspense and tension. For example, on page 3, Joe finally gets to the main point and then drifts off onto the passed events of the day.

    • Word count: 895
  19. Enduring Love extract Point Proof Comment.

    The writer builds towards a climax "The encounter that would unhinge us was minutes away, its enormity disguised from us not", this leaves the reader yearning a d�nouement. The writer is involved in a kind of game with the reader because he chooses when to withhold or disclose information "I'm holding back, delaying the information" this is frustrating but draws in and involves the reader. The tone of the passage is both urgent and sedate at the same time. Although the events of this passage are traumatic and very effectively portrayed as such, there is an air of the dispassionate

    • Word count: 796
  20. How is the theme of

    Later, when she discovers Lola has been raped, she immediately says, "It was Robbie, wasn't it?" She completes her sin by saying, "Listen to me. I couldn't mistake him. I've known him all my life. I saw him." In this first half of the book, Briony forces Robbie to atone, for upsetting the balance in her controlled, systematic world, by his taboo relationship with Cecelia. Briony believes that Robbie deserves his fate. Indeed, she is furious when she thinks Robbie might be believed over her, "Who would believe her now, with Robbie posing as the kindly rescuer of lost children?"

    • Word count: 804
  21. How does Ian McEwan create interest & suspense in the opening chapter of "Enduring Love"

    The opening of the novel begins with Joe and his 'enduring' girlfriend Clarrisa having a picnic in Chiltern Hills. Clarrisa and Joe have very different interests and careers so there is clearly a conflict in their personalities. Whilst Joe is a scientist, Clarrisa is a university lecturer and is researching into the relationship between the poet, john Keats and Fanny Brawne. Their difference in opinion and their combative exchanges, one would say is part of their equilibrium and is what makes them go together so well.

    • Word count: 961
  22. The opening of Enduring Love is very effective for many reasons, such as use of words, the styles and techniques of writing, and themes that are introduced.

    Next thing, I was running towards it," and "...- the event I am about to describe, the fall-..." These segments of the opening leaves out who this man actually is, what the "danger" actually is and therefore, what he's running to; readers keep on reading until they get to the point where they find out what the huge event is, which doesn't come until the last few lines of his opening. Lastly, "...the last time I (Joe) understood anything clearly at all," and "Knowing what I know now," shows that the even that the narrator is about to share has to be quite large and by the way that he says these things, the reader can see that

    • Word count: 708
  23. Some readers feel that the most compelling aspect of "Enduring Love" is Jed and Joe's relationship. What do you think of this view?

    The ballooning accident is depicted in an electrifying and sudden manner. Short sentences prove effective throughout the chapter, "The beginning is simple to mark." and "I got there before them." as they increase the pace of the narrative, and continue to contribute to the thriller genre of the chapter. However, through the excitement, McEwan manipulates the concept of time and shifts to numerous scenes before arriving to the final conclusion of the chapter; John Logan falling to his death, "I've never seen such a terrible thing as that falling man."

    • Word count: 925
  24. How does Ian McEwan create an effective opening in "Enduring Love"?

    And from the very first line ??The beginning is simple to mark.? ? leads the reader to question what exactly is simple to mark? This short sentence creates interest and also suspense and drives the reader to curiosity. Furthermore, McEwan begins the novel at the very beginning of the startling balloon accident, almost in the middle of the scene. This technique is effective because it plunges the reader straight into the dramatic scenario without having led them through a boring introduction to begin with.

    • Word count: 774
  25. Aspects of Narrative in "Atonement ".

    All these subtle hints of distraction emphasise the hidden cracks within the family, which contrasts significantly to the secure and stable family (portrayed by the families wealthiness) in the opening. This also creates a tense atmosphere. The reader is already waiting for something unexpected to happen. As soon as nightfall arrives, the tension continues to build and escalate through a series of events. Not only does Briony read the incorrect letter, Cecilia and Robbie are caught in the libary, where Briony misunderstands what is happening, partly due to her youth, but also her vivid imagination.

    • Word count: 927

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Compare two passages of your choice explaining what they reveal of McEwen's reoccurring themes and concerns?

    "In conclusion I would have to say that Ian McEwen does use a lot of the same themes and techniques in his writing and varies the amount he uses them in each story e.g. in the story where he uses a lot of science imagery there is a less religious imagery and also the opposite where there was more religious imagery McEwen added less science. Techniques like using short sentences and lots of punctuation was used to raise tension and anticipation in both extracts as well as in Enduring Love."

  • Discuss how McEwan uses the setting in part one of "Atonement".

    "The setting used in part one was used constructively to build depth into the novel. I find the use of setting makes it very much a more interesting read as I can see more depth into the story every time I read it. There are parts about the set which I didn't realise meant anything until I had re-read and studied the book. McEwan use of the setting makes the significance of the events more meaningful. As all the events that happen are set in a symbolic to that situation and the setting mirrors the meanings of the characters and the events."

  • Enduring Love by Ian McEwan essay. Compare the narrative of Appendix 1 with Appendix 2.

    "Appendix 1 is written in a report form, McEwan has chosen this aspect of narrative to take on a role of a report for a psychiatric journal, in this case Jed Parry. This choice of narrative technique reflects McEwan's character as Joe is a science writer and this report is in a logical format. It explains the science behind Jed's condition creating sympathy for him which the reader had not held when Parry's victim was narrating. The opening line of Appendix 1; 'Reprinted from the British Review of Psychiatry', immediately informs the reader of the form. 'British Review of Psychiatry' indicates to the reader that what they are about to read is a review on a particular subject and sets the reader for clear information on the syndrome. By portraying the key information about Parry's condition in a report format leaves a lasting effect on the audience and bring McEwan's story to life. Appendix 1 is structured as a typical report and is set into five categories; 'Introduction, Case History, Discussion, Conclusion and"

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