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AS and A Level: Ian McEwan

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 2
  • Peer Reviewed essays 5
  1. Peer reviewed

    Consider the significances of innocence in Part One of Atonement.

    4 star(s)

    However, the trust surrounded with the nursery is broken as he sees 'that the girl was almost a young woman' whilst 'watching her closely'. The reader are led to believe by McEwan that Paul Marshall is caressing Lola, and the description of her 'unblemished incisors' highlights this innocence. Through this, McEwan builds sympathy for Lola as the reader begin to question her ability to notice Paul's intentions. It could be argued that this innocence is a facade: as Lola is first assaulted, McEwan has her 'seeming to bite' down a sob, highlighting her ability to appear vulnerable as she simply wants pity from Briony.

    • Word count: 1177
  2. Peer reviewed

    Analysis of the opening chapter of 'Atonement'

    4 star(s)

    Up until this point Briony has lived a relatively protected life, away from the conflict of the outside world, giving Briony a sheltered view on life and relationships. This sheltered view of relationships is shown in this chapter through the characters of her play 'The Trials of Arabella' in which the heroine marries her "medical prince on a 'windy sunlit day in spring.'" To Briony the reality of some relationships, being conflict, heartbreak and possibly divorce, "belonged in the realm of disorder", lost to the idea of a wedding and "a dizzy lifelong union."

    • Word count: 1267
  3. Peer reviewed

    English Literature - Atonement (Essay 2)

    4 star(s)

    you', and her later struggle with remorse - is painfully strong"3, encouraging the idea that she can be considered both a victim and villain in tandem. Select 'villainous' vices of Briony - predominantly naivety - are ultimately responsible for Robbie's downfall. Contrarily, Briony assumes some distinctly 'heroic' roles throughout the novel; most noteworthy, her nursing occupation and the 'redeeming' atonement. Her 'villainous' temperament is inadvertent (and nonetheless a literary construction) that affects both her and the other characters in the novel.

    • Word count: 1798
  4. Peer reviewed

    How does McEwan capture a sense of desperation in Part 2 of 'Atonement'?

    4 star(s)

    nature of her error, and she greatly wishes to reverse her actions and Part 2 follows her crime's repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II. The emotional trauma of the war and the wounded is developed in a manner that allows us to feel the anguish and despair of those fighting for their country. We feel the futility of war and the assault on the physical and emotional fronts of Robbie, Cecilia and even Briony. The gory intricacies of war which Robbie is experiencing are emphasised by his constant flashbacks to a golden past; where on that oppressively sweltering night, in the library, he and Cecilia awakened their s****l awareness and the vagaries of maturity.

    • Word count: 1013
  5. Peer reviewed

    English Literature - Atonement (Essay 1)

    3 star(s)

    The paradox is that while Briony is attempting to pursue adulthood and convince herself of her maturity - "the day had proved to her that she was not a child"3 - she "had to prove herself worthy of it"4, accordingly reverting to a juvenile mindset. This absurd attitude is put into practice during her encounter with Lola Quincey (pages 118-19). The passage exposes the "controlling demon"5 that governs Briony's behaviour; the transition between the child and adult world being presented by McEwan as one of malevolence and possibly even antagonistic drive.

    • Word count: 1759
  6. Enduring Love

    The narrator stops at the most crucial point in the story keeping the reader on edge. Another technique that the author uses is to touch on a point but not expand on it in great detail tempting the reader to read on. When the author does this it gives the reader a taste of what is to come and engages the reader in the story. It is important in a story to always give clues as to what is going to happen next so that the reader is able to use their imagination to engage themselves in the story.

    • Word count: 1290
  7. Enduring Love

    It shows his uncertainty and makes it clear that he is emotionally out of touch. The inability to express himself adequately stems from his rational mind controlling his actions. Joe takes comfort in science and this can be seen by the number of science related statements found in this small passage alone. An example of this is 'mental-visceral' and 'diminishing pendulum movement'. His feelings are exact, and he takes comfort in accuracies and specifics. His whole emotional experience is a paradox, he is clearly distraught and confused yet his style is still controlled while still unpredictable.

    • Word count: 1093
  8. What techniques has McEwan used to make his opening striking in "Enduring Love"?

    Through the use of metanarrative, McEwan refers specifically to time, "This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the time map", whereby the imagery of time being diagrammatically plotted allows the reader to conjure thoughts of before and after the event as well as during; whereby the change in events are linked together, giving the 'story' a chronology, yet still depicting the way Joe cannot see an overview of proceedings at the present time. Gaps within Joe's thought process are described, as if they are merely a memory, "saw the danger.

    • Word count: 1311
  9. Enduring Love gracefully bridges genres; it(TM)s a psychological thriller, a meditation on the narrative impulse, a novel of ideas. How far and in what ways do you agree with this view?

    In chapter 9 there is both a sense of romance and detective story genres present. Though it is in 3rd person it centrally portrays a relationship between Joe and Clarissa (typically romance), however, it is delivered in a report-like way as if it was the findings of an investigation, or as if it was the commentary of an observation (Detective story). This is showing that Enduring Love is consistently, and successfully, bridging genres. It is arguable that at the centre of the novel is a relationship.

    • Word count: 1267
  10. How effective is the opening of ''Enduring Love'' as an introduction to the novel?

    Further consideration of this point indicates that the narrator considers himself to have gone through significant, permanent changes as a result of the events which he so eagerly ran towards, as shown by his observation that 'the transformation was absolute'. The writer also hints at the reason why the protagonist is so eager to assist in what appears to be a serious problem: 'a child's cry, enfeebled by the wind that roared in the tall trees along the hedgerows'. The connotations of innocence and helplessness created by the 'child's cry' are further accentuated by the futility of the child's cry being 'enfeebled' by the forces of nature which, the reader learns, are responsible for the predicament.

    • Word count: 1103
  11. Enduring Love by Ian McEwan How important are the Appendices in the novel? The opening of a novel is vital, as it sets the foundations for the story to come.

    The Appendices are vital to this novel because most readers like a happy ending. Appendix 1 concludes the story assuring that "R (Joe Rose) and M (Clarissa Mellon) were reconciled" and because Clarissa is infertile they "successfully adopted a child" making their lifetime dream of starting a family come true. This is important for the reader, because without the appendices they are left wondering what the outcome is of the relationship. After Joe shot Parry, there were no "kisses and tears and conciliatory murmurs and words of forgiveness and love", Clarissa did not jump into his arms and forget about everything that had happened and Joe was left in acceptance that "perhaps [they] really were finished".

    • Word count: 1491
  12. A Reader's Response to McEwan's Characterisation of Joe Rose in Chapters 1 - 6 of 'Enduring Love'

    This shows the reader how Joe is very educated and interested in science. However he also shows a very opposite side of himself from science which is very factual and organised, this is love. His love for Clarissa shows through how McEwan has written this character; "a beautiful woman loved and wanted to be loved by a large, clumsy, balding fellow who could hardly believe his luck" and how later on in the book when Jed phones up and tells Joe that he loves him Joe doesn't tell Clarissa because he didn't want her to become involved.

    • Word count: 1121
  13. How does Ian McEwan hook the reader in the opening three chapters of Enduring Love?

    This point is emphasized in the fact that it takes three chapters for us to find out that Harry Gadd came down safely. He is presented to us as a very imaginative, deep thinking character, which we can see by the way he takes up different perspectives on events - e.g. 'the buzzard'. He tells the narrative in retrospect, which allows him to craft the narrative to his desire by switching backwards and forwards on his thoughts giving the reader a wider picture.

    • Word count: 1231
  14. What is the significance of the endings of Enduring Love?

    'I can confirm that Appendix I of Enduring Love is fictional, based on the novel that precedes it rather than the other way around' admits the author, Ian McEwan. He has set this up so manipulatively that the two supposed authors of the British Review of Psychiatry, Dr Robert Wenn and Dr Antonio Camia are fictional and whose surnames together is fascinatingly an anagram of Ian McEwan's name. McEwan's use of psychiatric lexicon, quotes and overall format all have been used expertly into fooling us to believe that this is a real scientific case study.

    • Word count: 1235
  15. How effective is the opening chapter of the Novel "Enduring Love"?

    Personification is used especially to denote the power that nature possesses to cause the outcome of the event: "the wind that roared" - the reader receives an image of a lion or a tiger because it is the sounds of fierceness and anger. There is a contrast between the peaceful setting in the beginning "sunlight" and how it has adjusted dramatically to change the mood of the story by the use of pathetic fallacy. A sense of omniscient writing from the author is familiarised "through the eyes of the buzzard"- it draws our attention towards an image of a bird "soaring", "circling".

    • Word count: 1509
  16. What Is The Function Of Chapter 11?

    'I close my eyes and thank god out loud for letting you exist.' From this quotation we can see that in this part of the letter Jed is thanking his god for Joe being on this planet, this for the reader sends out signals to them which indicates that Parry is a bit of a weirdo and obsessed little child. But why is this? Maybe he feels he needs the human closeness because he has no one, or is this maybe s****l obsession.

    • Word count: 1133
  17. The Effectiveness of Chapter One as an Opening to "Enduring Love".

    The narrator tells us "The transformation was absolute" This leaves the reader asking 'what transformation?' and 'absolute in what way?' Obviously, the reader has to read on to find out the answers, a good technique to engage interest and curiosity. Another question McEwan keeps the reader thinking about is 'What are they running towards?' Indeed, it seems that the narrator is asking himself the very same question: "What were we running towards? I don't think any of us would ever know fully" The answer Joe gives is vague, and does not immediately satisfy the readers' curiosity, another ploy to keep the reader interested.

    • Word count: 1055
  18. How Does McEwan Hook The Reader?

    McEwan uses many different techniques to hook the reader and to try and create suspense. From the first line of the chapter, "the beginning is simple to mark", he gives a clear explanation to the reader of the situation and that it isn't very complicated. It suggests that something important is going to happen, encouraging the reader to continue with the story to discover exactly will happen. By changing the pace of the chapter, with the use of varied sentence lengths he is able to build tension.

    • Word count: 1482
  19. Examine the techniques used by McEwan in his presentation of the murder scene.

    I'm from a tainted future." He begins putting incredibly precise detail into everything he describes, even telling us the exact colour of his sorbet, "just to the green side of white", which helps to give us a crystal clear picture of the nightmare about to unfold as well as delaying the inevitable. McEwan's description of the murderers is also horrific as he completely dehumanises them. "The two men who had stopped by the table next to ours seemed to have suffered burns to the face.

    • Word count: 1283
  20. How does McEwan tell the story in Chapter 12 of Enduring Love

    Another insight into Joe?s character is given in the line ??close to doubling the speed limit?. Here, McEwan is creating a sense of distress and as an author gives the reader a glimpse into Joe?s current emotions, but also perhaps a sense of recklessness despite Joe?s scientific and rational claims. This is supported by the state of paranoia and guilt that we repeatedly see Joe in. We his state of mind primarily from the reason why he is in the car in the first place ? he is going to see Jean Logan.

    • Word count: 1605
  21. Essay Plan - The Theme of Social Class in Atonement.

    Body Points : 1. Robbie and Cecilia were the same age, grew up together “He had known her since they were children.” and shared the same love for Literature ï they both have degrees in Literature ï went to Cambridge together. 2. Even though they share some common interests, they were separated by a much more fundamental divide ï Cecilia was the daughter of a wealthy upper-middle-class senior civil servant and Robbie was the son of the Tallises’ cleaner. 3. Even though they had grown up together and Robbie “had spent his childhood moving freely between the bungalow and the main house” the social gulf was unbridgeable.

    • Word count: 1017
  22. What methods does McEwan use to create reader interest in Chapter Four of Enduring Love?

    McEwan?s use of time expansion here contrasts with the compression at the end of Chapter Three, which leaves the reader on a cliff hanger as Jed calls Joe, telling him: ??I love you?? compelling the reader to read onwards in order to find out more about him. So the time expansion at the start of Chapter Four teases the reader, who wants to know more about Jed and is instead being told information which they believe is irrelevant. Also while Joe is creating his article on the Hubble telescope, the reader questions the reliability of Joe?s narrative.

    • Word count: 1460
  23. How is the story told in Chapter 12 of Enduring Love?

    You can see the effect this is having on Joe as he says, ?these days I preferred to drive?, so maybe he feels too scared to walk freely on the streets as this stalking has risen to a new level. The author gives us more insight into Joe?s character and particularly his scientific nature as he reflects that he has read somewhere about a curtain used as a signal and this seems to have some relevance to Parry. We can see that Joe is constantly looking for the source of the problem and for any rational reason why Parry would

    • Word count: 1140
  24. Analysis of page 19-21 of "Atonement".

    With this passage in mind, it is more important to inspect the pre-war situation. Tensions between Germany and Britain were high at this time, and this feeling of tension and a need for change is highlighted dramatically in this short passage. One of the most effective ways that this has been done is to show us why exactly there was tension in the Tallis household ? or at least, a need for change in Cecilia?s opinion. McEwan has strived to present the Tallis home in an imposing way, reflective of the rigidness and perhaps unfriendliness of a family as a whole in Cecilia?s eyes.

    • Word count: 1508

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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